Economy
Turkish clothing retailer Koton promoted a parking garage employee to chairman of the board. The financially struggling company had closed down five Istanbul stores in February.
A legislation prepared by the ruling AKP bans layoffs but also gives employers the right to put their employees on unpaid leave during the coronavirus pandemic. Employees on unpaid leave are paid 39.24 liras ($5.79) per day by the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
While some 63 percent of Turkey's internet users also shop online, that may have become a risky choice during the COVID-19 outbreak, experts warn. Users should prefer the 3D payment method that requests a second form of confirmation in addition to payment methods, experts recommend.
Coronavirus concerns have pushed Turkish customers to make the switch to using contactless payment. The data show that the number of contactless payments made through credit and debit cards tripled in March, compared to the same month of last year. Contactless payments do not require purchasers to insert their cards into payment machines; instead they hold their cards over the terminal.
Lemon exports will require government approval until August 31, 2020, Turkey’s Official Gazette said April 7. The citrus fruit has become highly in-demand during the COVID-19 outbreak as consumers have hoarded the traditional Turkish alcohol-based lemon-scented cologne.
Turkey's Treasury on April 6 borrowed 12.6 billion Turkish liras (approximately $1.86 billion) from domestic markets, by selling 14-month government bonds and eight-year CPI indexed government bonds at two separate auctions.
Douglas Winslow from Fitch said that Turkey's economy will catch up with its sustainable trend of growth next year. "In the first quarter of this year economic growth had accelerated to above 6%. We now anticipate a very sharp contraction in the second quarter, flatter growth in the third quarter and then recovery in the fourth quarter, as activities begin to normalize after the partial lockdown," he said.
According to a report prepared by the CHP, over 5 million people were left either temporarily or permanently unemployed amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic .Some 144,690 workplaces were temporarily closed as part of the measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, resulting in a significant increase in the number of people unemployed, the main opposition said.
Turkey's Central Bank has become the largest gold purchaser in the world in January and February of this year, with 41 tons of gold. Turkey was followed by Russia (19 tons), the United Arab Emirates (5.9 tons), Kazakhstan (2.8 tons) and Mongolia (1 ton).
CHP Ankara deputy Tekin Bingöl has accused the AKP of wasting 495 billion Turkish Liras collected from several resources. “This money belongs to the public,” Bingöl told daily Sözcü on April 2. According to the deputy, some 28 billion liras collected in the Unemployment Fund was not given to those unemployed, but was transferred elsewhere instead.
Turkey's exports are expected to drop around 17% in March, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic leads to a decline in trade with some of its biggest partners, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on April 1. Pekcan also said that exports to Iran declined by 82%, those to Iraq by 48%, to France by 32.5% and to Germany by 14%.
Turkish Trade Ministry has made a number of changes in the customs processes, making bringing gold from abroad easier. The move aimed to prevent the loss of time and money that stemmed from the gold being analyzed in a laboratory.
Turkey's economy will face a “sharp” contraction in the second quarter of 2020 amid coronavirus outbreak, according to Douglas Winslow, primary analyst on Turkey and director of the Sovereign Group at Fitch Ratings, in London.
Turkey's Central Bank provided more stimulus for the financial sector and economy on March 31, saying it would ramp up government debt buying and offer new pools of cheap funding to stem the fallout from a growing coronavirus outbreak. The Central Bank also extended 60 billion lira ($9 billion) worth of rediscount credits and added more lending options well below its 9.75% policy rate. It said the moves would provide much needed credit to companies and liquidity to government debt markets.
Turkey’s presidential palace spent 4.5 million lira in 2018, a report by the Court of Accounts revealed. Annual spending at the palace totaled 1,648,678,000 lira, 705 million of which was not itemized in the report.
Editor's Pick
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
Politics
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to make changes in the electoral system when parliament reopens in October. Various commissions were formed to work on the changes on the Law on Political Parties, Elections Law and Parliament Bylaws, sources told Duvar, adding that the first draft bills of the next legislative year will concern them.
The U.S.' health protection agency CDC has designated Turkey as a risky place for COVID-19, urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. "COVID-19 risk in Turkey is high. If you get sick in Turkey and need medical care, resources may be limited," the CDC said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has named the party's new top brass, the Central Executive Board (MYK), after its 37th ordinary congress. The number of individuals in the CHP MYK was decreased to 16 from 18. Tuncay Özkan and Ünal Çeviköz were left out, while Böke, Ali Öztunç, Yüksel Taşkın and Ahmet Akın were handed posts.
The Ankara branch of Turkish Health Workers' Union (SES) has said that there are currently approximately 50,000 coronavirus patients in the capital, 3,500 of whom are receiving treatment at hospitals. The SES based this figure on the number of patients each family physician in the capital is monitoring for suspected coronavirus infection.
All passengers travelling from Turkey to Germany are required to take COVID-19 tests and those who do not submit a negative PCR test result will not be allowed to leave the country. However many questions are still unanswered regarding this new implementation as travelers still do not know where they will be placed under quarantine, who will cover the cost of their accommodation should they stay at a hotel and how their treatment will be actualized in Turkey.
Turkish archaeologist Dr. Vuslat Müller Karpe was buried in the ancient city of Samuha where she has led excavation work for the past 15 years. The 3,800-years-old settlement was a political hub in the Hittite civilization.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) data revealed that seasonally adjusted unemployment in May rose by 0.2 percent from May 2019. Some 4,166,000 people reported unemployment in May.
Ancient Roman toilets and baths will be displayed in southwestern Denizli's Tripolis settlement by summer of 2021. The excavation head noted that the toilets and baths were connected through waterways and sewage, adding the importance of toilets for Roman urban architecture.
The Akbük village in the Aegean province of Muğla was transferred to the Muğla Tourism Environment Foundation (MUÇEV), a company close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Though MUÇEV has the word “foundation” in its name, it is actually registered as a company under the legal name MUÇEV Tourism Commerce LLC.
Turkey's Saturday Mothers has called on the state to enlighten the case of Ferhat Tepe, a reporter for now defunct pro-Kurdish Özgur Gündem newspaper who was found dead after disappearing on July 28, 1993. The group said in its weekly demonstration on Aug. 8 that as a result of Turkish state's denialist attitude in the face of enforced disappearances, members of security forces who are responsible for serious human rights violations are not held accountable for their actions.
Economist and former Treasury advisor Mahfi Eğilmez has said that the Turkish economy is no longer predictable. "In an unpredictable economy, due to the fact the risks increase, this means that expenses will also increase,” Eğilmez wrote in a column on Aug. 5.
Şaban Vatan, the father of Rabia Naz who was found dead in a suspicious way two years ago, has been stopped by the police for wearing a t-shirt that read “Where are you justice?” and “What happened to Rabia Naz?” “So it turns out, a person's being in Taksim with a t-shirt that has Rabia Naz's picture on, is a crime," Vatan wrote on Twitter.
A prominent health expert has said that about 3,000 people are believed to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus during the prayers held at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia on July 24. "There were about 1,000 asymptotic patients there, based on forecasts. If we think of the transmission rate, those patients have infected 2,000-3,000 others. I believe that gathering will increase the cases in Istanbul,” Assoc. Pro. Dr. Üner said on Aug. 8.
Richard Moore, who served as British ambassador to Turkey from January 2014 to December 2017, has been named as the next chief of MI6. A fluent Turkish speaker, he studied at Oxford and first joined MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, in 1987.
Turkey's parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop, from the ruling AKP, has said that there is no need for Turkey to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women. Şentop's comments came as the AKP is considering whether to pull Turkey out of the convention, alarming campaigners who see the pact as key to combating rising domestic violence.
Turkey's Arab Alawite community has celebrated the Gadir Hum holiday amid concerns of rising cases of coronavirus in Turkey. Mehmet Ali Dönmez, who organized Gadir Hum festivities in the Samandağ district of Hatay, which is prominently Arab Alawite, said that the celebration of the festival is in defiance of cultural assimilation.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has voiced support to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak amid the country's worsening economy. Several AKP officials, including Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, defended Albayrak on Twitter via using the hashtag "We stand with Berat Albayrak."
Amnesty International has called on the Turkish government to "fully implement" the Istanbul Convention rather withdraw from it. The prominent organization said that Turkey's withdrawal from the convention would have "disastrous consequences" for millions of women and girls in the country.
Rights organizations will take the case of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal -- who have been on a hunger strike since April 5 to support their demand for a fair trial -- to the Constitutional Court. The move comes after an Istanbul court in July denied the release of Timtik and Ünsal, despite a medical report that says it is not “suitable” for the two lawyers to remain in jail.
Some 64 percent of Turkish people are of the belief that it is not safe to allow schools to reopen on Aug. 31 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a recent survey conducted by Metropoll. The survey also looked at how supporters of different political parties view this issue, finding that 53 percent of AKP voters do not support the government's planned move.
Economy
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 15 that companies involved in construction of the TurkStream pipeline will be subject to the U.S. penalties unless they stop their works. “It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” he said.
The Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TÜPRAŞ) ranked as Turkey's largest industrial business with 87.9 billion liras in annual production revenue. The oil company was followed mostly by automotive producers.
On the second anniversary of Turkey's transformation into a presidential system, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has prepared a report detailing how the country stands in the ensuing years, finding that the Turkish lira has lost four times its value since 2007.
Urban Beat
Mois Gabay writes: Do you think the Camondo family will be included in the Beyoğlu Culture Road project conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism? What about Arif Ergin’s “Tekvin” novel, in which he imagined that there would be a “Camondo Museum” one day?
Artifacts from Istanbul's ancient Hagia Sophia will be displayed in a nearby public building that will be transformed into a museum. Formerly used as a land office, the late-19th-century building in historical Sultanahmet will be converted on the president's orders.
Luke Frostick writes: Edanur Kuntman’s Tales from Behind the Window has been nominated for an Eisner Award. If she wins, she will be the first Turk to win an Eisner. The story is a piece of creative-nonfiction and its main narrative is drawn from the memories of Kuntman’s grandmother growing up in the Çarşamba district of Samsun.