Coronavirus
Confirmed coronavirus cases in Turkey rose by more than 3,000 to 23,934 on April 4 with deaths related to COVID-19 rising by 76 to 501 people, Heath Minister Fahrettin Koca said. In the last 24 hours, 19,664 tests were conducted bringing the total performed in Turkey so far to 161,380, Koca said.
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has started to place thermal cameras at subway stations across the city in an attempt to detect passengers with high fever. Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said that passengers with fever will not be allowed to ride the subway.
Turkish Airlines announced early on April 4 that it has suspended all domestic flights until April 20 amid the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this week, the company extended its suspension of all international flights to May 1, while cutting flights to all but 14 big Turkish cities.
Two judges of Turkey's Court of Cassation have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, daily Cumhuriyet reported on April 4. The situation has led to a panic among the other judges of the court due to concerns that they might have also contracted the virus during a recently held meeting in the Court of Cassation building in the capital Ankara.
A report from the Platform of the Branches of Istanbul Worker Unions that was published on April 3 revealed that the majority of Istanbul’s four million workers do not belong to a labor or trade union. The report noted that this leaves the workers in a particularly vulnerable position amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as the epidemic is expected to trigger mass unemployment.
Turkey's Health Ministry has updated its criteria for who can and should be tested for COVID-19. Accordingly, it will be enough for a patient to develop just one of the following symptoms to avail of diagnostic testing: cough, difficulty in breathing, or fever.
Turkey has taken a series of new measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the death toll hit 425. The country has imposed a curfew for citizens younger than 20 years of age and has made mask-wearing in public areas compulsory.
Turkey’s deaths from the coronavirus increased by 69 to 425 on April 3, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 2,786 to 20,921, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. The number of newly infected people from a single coronavirus case is 16 on average in Istanbul, Koca said, adding that the "mobility of the young population is one of our weakest points."
Anyone who violates the required 14-day self isolation following international travels, as well as anyone attempting to escape from to their quarantine location will now be subject to a search warrant issued in their name. The first example of such a warrant was issued for an individual from Istanbul’s Ümraniye district, whose search warrant declares they are “wanted for disseminating a contagious disease.”
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that more than two million workers in Turkey have lost their jobs due to measures taken to contain the coronavirus outbreak. "They had to start a campaign to keep people home. This current campaign has only led to one thing: unemployment," he said. "They will get unemployment wages from the unemployment fund for a short time, but there are no guarantees after that," he added.
Prof. Alpay Azap, a member of the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 Science Committee, predicts the epidemic will peak around the end of April. “The disease peaks within around 60 days. Considering it appeared on March 11 in Turkey, we still have three to four weeks to go,” Azap told daily Habertürk on April 3.
The “Hello Fatwa” hotline of the Istanbul Mufti’s Office has been receiving a flurry of questions about the compatibility of COVID-19 precautions with Islam, the Mufti of Istanbul Prof. Mehmet Emin Maşalı said on April 3. People calling the hotline have asked whether alcohol-based disinfectants corrupt one’s ablution and whether it is a sin to use alcohol-based medications.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said that Istanbul is running out of time to impose a lockdown and stop a surge in coronavirus cases as around two million people are still going out into the streets every day. "We are in the most critical time," he said. "Looking at the situation across the world, we are in a period that is very intense and could lead to figures that will upset us very much."
In fight with the coronavirus among the precautions taken by the Ankara Municipality last month included the banning of recyclable collectors who work long hours picking through the trash searching for reusable materials. Following the ban of the occupation, the Ankara Municipality has started disinfecting the areas in which the collectors live, while providing them with three hot meals a day and rent and utility support.
Duvar reporter Aynur Tekin spent 11 days in hospital with COVID-19 symptoms. In this piece, she takes the reader through the different stages of her illness and the treatment she received at hospital. She also offers a few suggestions on how to talk to a COVID-19 patient.
Editor's Picks
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.
duvar englis podcasts
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.