Economy
The wealthiest 20 percent of Turkey’s population controls 46.3 percent of the country's wealth, according to official figures from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK).
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.
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.
Ankara will be paying private construction companies bi-annually for any difference in actual revenue and projected revenue under the build-operate-transfer contracts. Operators of the massive construction projects, including Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge, received payments annually before the shock to the Turkish Lira against the dollar in 2018.
The price of eggplant soared by 22 pct. during the month of August, accounting for the highest increase among a list of produce surveyed by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. Lemon prices rose by 19.17 pct. and lettuce prices jumped up 15.47 pct.
The Turkish Lira hovered near its historical low against the dollar on Aug. 31 as the Turkish statistical authority revealed a contraction of 9.9 percent in the economy. The currency has lost about 19% against the greenback this year.
Turkey's economy shrank by 9.9 percent between April and June compared to the same period last year, Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported on Aug. 31. While less precipitous than expected, the drop in gross domestic product (GDP) was still historic compared to the first quarter at a seasonally and calendar-adjusted 11.0 percent, according to TÜİK.
Turkey's milk producers have been struggling with skyrocketing production costs, as the sale price for a liter of raw milk was set in late 2019, since when the Turkish Lira has suffered from dramatic devaluation.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that Turkish economist Ceyla Pazarbaşıoğlu would be serving as the head of the IMF's Strategy, Policy and Review Department. Georgieva said that Pazarbaşıoğlu had "profound knowledge and significant experience on how to design policies to help people especially in emerging markets and low-income countries."
Turkish Airlines said on Aug. 26 that they would no longer offer pre-packaged food on flights that are shorter than two hours. The flagship carrier has observed unprecedented losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez has said that the government did not share the volume of the natural gas reserves discovered in the Black Sea with Reuters. “If we had found 800 billion cubic meters, that would have been the amount that we announced,” Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Aug. 25.
The World Bank has released a report on Turkey saying that the country's economy is projected to face a difficult 2020, including a projected increase in poverty. "Important sectors in the Turkish economy are highly vulnerable to COVID-linked economic strains, which could further lower employment, reduce labor force participation, and increase the poor population by 1.2 million in 2020," the report said.
Turkey is poised to produce a record amount of gold this year and the Central Bank will probably buy all of it at prices near record highs, Bloomberg reported on Aug. 24. The value of its gold reserves surged to an all-time high in the week through Aug. 7, only to drop 5 percent a week later, the biggest decline in five months. That effectively mirrored the moves in market prices over the same period.
Turkey's donkey population observed a decrease of two-thirds in 18 years under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The shrink represents the overall decline of the agricultural industry, a main opposition deputy said.
Main opposition CHP MP Öztrak has said that some people had made substantial gains last week by buying dollar at a relatively low exchange rate level amid speculations about Erdoğan's announcement of "good news." “Who knew ahead what this 'goods news' was about and took a position accordingly? Who earned millions in a just a couple of days?" Öztrak asked on Aug. 24.
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.
Vural Özdemir writes: A smirk is invariably political and never innocent. Smirk undermines democratic practices and human rights. Let’s bear in mind that oppression is sometimes enacted upon us in the form of a smirk.
Politics
Turkey's premier petrochemical company Petkim has been involved in illegal oil business with Syria, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Files, which said that Petkim and its associate Petrokim completed over $90 million in "suspicious transactions" between March 2010 and January 2016.
Handan Bul, a 23-year-old woman was shot dead by a coworker she turned down in the western province of Bilecik. The 30-year-old assailant, Yusuf Uğur also shot and killed himself on site.
After the suspicious death of Kurdish soldier Mustafa Araz in the province of Kırklareli in May was ruled a suicide by military officials, Araz's family has stated that they believe their son was murdered. The family also disputes that the suicide note which was added to his file actually belongs to Mustafa Araz.
A young man is offering unique codes provided by the government to visitors of the Diyarbakır Courthouse, as the codes are required to enter public buildings. Initially created as a traveling precaution during the pandemic, HES codes are available online, but not everyone knows g-how to get them, the young man said.
The HDP has conducted an online meeting with representatives from 26 EU member states regarding Turkey-EU relations, human rights, and the Kurdish issue. HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said that the EU needs to take a more consistent stance against Turkey's "increasingly authoritarian government."
The founders of private Altınbaş University were detained on charges of fraud in Istanbul. The brothers allegedly reported buying boat fuel to benefit from tax exemptions regarding marine transportation.
An Ankara court has ruled for the continuation of imprisonment of former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ on charges related to 2014 Kobane riots. The Kobane investigation was launched in 2014 and reopened in 2019, and has failed to produce an indictment for Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ since. Lawyer Levent Kanat has said that new charges were brought against the politicians over the same incident to make sure that they remain in prison.
Heavy machinery entered the sacred Alevi grounds of Munzur Springs in eastern Dersim, despite promises from the governor's office that landscaping in the area wouldn't involve construction machinery. The state-run project will reportedly cost eight million liras, and was allegedly approved by a natural resources protection board.
Future Party chairman Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the party will nominate its own presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, amid rumors that opposition parties are contemplating of coalescing behind a joint candidate. Davutoğlu said that although Future Party is open to cooperation with other parties concerning various issues, it still aims for the rulership on its own.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has announced that its 72nd Great Congress will no longer be held at CerModern, but instead at Bilkent Hotel. The change came after CerModern notified the TTB that it could not meet the COVID-19-related safety guidelines designated by the Ankara Governor's Office.
Run by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), the Islamic Research Center (İSAM) has seen a 600-percent increase in its budget over the last 16 years. Known for holding a symposium about Islamic fatwas on medical issues, the foundation is chaired by a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
A group of health workers in Ankara had to barricade the door of an emergency room when loved ones of a patient wanted to push their way in to see the deceased gunshot victim. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that the workers had been afraid of a violent attack, as health workers in Turkey are often targeted by patients' families.
Turkey's Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK) got into a brawl with an actor over a complaint from an 11-year-old viewer who said the actor's show "affected him a lot." After RTÜK shared the message on social media, the actor protested the council's reporting of his show to the public.
Climate activists who have been living in western Kaz Mountains in protest of destructive mining activities were detained as gendarmerie raided their campsite on Sept. 22. One activist said that the detentions were prompted by the wishes of Cengiz Holding, a company known for their close ties to Ankara who recently signed a tender for mining in the Kaz Mountains.
An initiative launched by lawyers close to the government has announced that it has collected the minimum number of signatures need to establish its own bar association in Istanbul. The founding member of the Istanbul No. 2 Bar Association, Cavit Tatlı has said that they will submit their application to the Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) on Sept. 23.
Artists from Mersin University and local children are painting a local Roma neighborhood together. While the project aims to reflect the community's vibrant culture, the university team envisions to turn the neighborhood into a monument of Roma people.
Turkey's greens established a political party named “Green Party” and filed an application with the Interior Ministry on Sept. 21. Party co-chair Koray Doğan Urbarlı said that the green movement exists in Turkey for many years but they have been conducting works to transform the initiation into a party for a year now. Urbalı said that apart from the climate crisis, the new party will propose solutions with regards to issues such as social gender, democracy and freedom.
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Zayed is in talks with the Pentagon to transfer the strategic İncirlik airbase from Turkey to the UAE, Middle East Monitor reported on Sept. 21.
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 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.