Economy
Google has suspended licenses for the use of its software on Android smart phones sold in Turkey. The decision came in light of a fine imposed on Google by Turkey's Competition Board in September 2018 in the sum of 93 million TL. This process could culminate in the company completely withdrawing from Turkey, according to local media reports.
Turkey will import horse and donkey meat from Sudan as part of the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement that was approved in parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission last week. Some 500 tons of horse, donkey and mule meat, as well as 500 tons of animal giblets, including those of the aforementioned animals, will be imported from Sudan without Turkey implementing any customs tariffs.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has denied criticism regarding the budget not being spent for the public, saying that some 333,9 billion Turkish Liras are paid as salaries and social security premium payments for 3,4 million public employees. When asked about the reason for why the 853,8 billion lira tax revenue target that was determined for 2019 was not met, Albayrak pointed to tax rate discounts that were made to "support economic revival and the fight against inflation."
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman set a Feb. 10 hearing date for Turkey's Halkbank and ordered federal prosecutors to prepare by Jan. 3 possible penalties should the bank continue to ignore the sanctions evasions charges filed against it. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan on Oct. 15 charged the bank with taking party in a multibillion-dollar scheme to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Turkey saw a 10.56 percent annual hike in consumer prices in November, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) said on Dec. 3. Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said "a little" increase took place, as he commented on the double-digit figures.
The United States is considering launching an investigation into digital services taxes of Turkey, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said.
According to a study conducted by a confederation of Turkish labor unions, overall expenses in October of this year increased by 36.9 percent. Meanwhile, the prices of electricity, natural gas, and fuel have risen by 60, 52, and 30 percent respectively. A lengthy list of prices increases concerning everything from food to furniture to electricity and fuel has weighed heavily upon shopkeepers.
The Turkish economy grew by 0.4 percent in the third quarter compared with the previous quarter on seasonal and calendar adjusted basis, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on Dec. 2. Compared with the same quarter of 2018, the Turkish economy expanded by 0.9 percent, the agency said.
Car sales have dropped below the market expectations of 600 yearly sales, which might force dealerships to shrink operations or even close. As a result of the economic crisis, the industry average for yearly sales had dropped from 1 million to 620 thousand last year, and are expected to drop further to 470 thousand.
Morgan Stanley is reportedly investigating suspected mismarking of securities to conceal losses of as much as $140 million in a portfolio handled day-to-day by London-based Scott Eisner, a 2014 Yale University graduate and associate at the firm. The wager was claimed to be tied to the Turkish lira, a currency that whipsawed investors in 2018 and earlier in 2019 amid mounting political tensions.
U.S. federal prosecutors have opposed Halkbank's request to make a “special appearance” in the Southern District of New York court to fight the charges that it helped Iran evade sanctions. The Turkish state-owned bank submitted such a request to seek dismissal of the case without it having to formally accept and answer the charges.
Turkish carrier Atlas Global Airlines has announced that it's temporarily suspending all its flights until Dec. 21. "The recent problems and the economic burden it brought about, as well as the major increase in logistic and operational costs stemming from moving to the new airport in April removed our possibility of making up for the costs we suffered in 2016/2017," the company said.
Based on a November study, the labor union Turk-İş has determined that the current hunger threshold for a family of four in Turkey is 2102 TL per month, while the poverty threshold for a family of the same size is 6489 TL. Regarding food products and other necessities, the study indicated the average monthly budget for a family has increased by 522 TL since last year.
Turkey's Koç Holding said there were ongoing negotiations with UniCredit on the reorganization of the shareholder structures of Koç Financial Services (KFS) and Yapı Kredi (YKB) “in such a manner to ensure that the parties shall not reach direct or indirect majority of YKB."
UniCredit has struck a deal to reduce its exposure to Turkey’s Yapı Kredi, a move seen as a first step toward the Italian bank’s full exit from the recession-hit country. As part of the plan, UniCredit will sell its 50 percent stake in its joint venture Koç Financial Services - which controls Yapı Kredi - to its partner Koç Holding.
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duvar englis podcasts
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
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.
Economy
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.