Coronavirus
Turkey's medical staff sacked with statutory decrees (KHK) have said that they want to help the country fight the novel coronavirus, even if that means putting their own lives at risk. Leaders of opposition parties have also demanded that the government reinstate the sacked medical staff back to their jobs.
Istanbul's famous Grand Bazaar ("Kapalı Çarşı" in Turkish), one of the world’s oldest covered markets, has been temporarily closed amid coronavirus precautions.
Hospitals and clinics in Turkey’s capital Ankara have been telling their employees to pack for 10-day shifts, which they think will be the country’s response to a surge in the number of people infected with the coronavirus. Meanwhile, healthcare workers unions urge the Health Ministry to step in to ensure the wellbeing of workers.
The first batch of rapid coronavirus test kits were brought to Turkey from China early on March 23. A cargo plane of Turkish Cargo was sent to Shanghai to carry the first batch of the tests. The plane landed in Istanbul's Atatürk Airport at around 4 a.m.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on March 23 said that Turkey imported a medicine from China which is believed to be effective against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He said that Turkish health personnel have already started to use it to treat coronavirus patients in intensive care units. Koca is believed to be referring to anti-viral drug Favipiravir.
A lawmaker and human rights activist from the eastern province of Van said that immigration continues on the Iran border despite its official closure since Feb. 23, adding that the traffic might widen the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Turkey. “They need to start placing incoming migrants under quarantine and inform the residents of border villages,” Turkey’s Human Rights Association Van Chair Murat Melet said.
Selva Demiralp writes: Things are different in Turkey. We could hardly reach the inflation target even at the most favorable times and gave in to populist policies. Thus, mismanaged debt monetization can lead us all the way to hyperinflation. The way to prevent inflation is to drain the money effectively just as demand starts to pick up.
Two patients under coronavirus quarantine escaped from the hospitals they were kept in and were nabbed by police officers in the capital Ankara and Istanbul. In Ankara, 36-year-old patient, identified only by the initials as Y.Y., escaped from the Ankara City Hospital on March 22. A similar incident took place in Istanbul, where a woman escaped from quarantine by jumping out of the window in the Taksim First Aid Hospital on March 23.
CNN Türk barred seven field reporters and nine videographers from its building, relocating them to prefabricated sheds in the parking lot. “Is this your understanding of a precaution?” Turkey’s Journalists’ Union said in a tweet March 22.
Turkey is allowing civil servants to work from home and in shifts as part of measures to address the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to an announcement published March 22 in the Official Gazette. The decision for state workers, who were previously being considered for administrative leave, will be valid until a new one is made, it added.
Turkish Airlines will suspend all international flights, except five routes, as of March 27 amid the coronavirus outbreak that has already infected more than 1200 people in Turkey. The company will fly only to New York City, Washington D.C., Hong Kong, Addis Ababa and Moscow, Board Chairman İlker Aycı said.
Turkish elementary, middle and high school students began remote classes March 23, in the second week of school closures amid the coronavirus outbreak. Classes will run for four hours, starting at 9 a.m., on the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation’s (TRT) airwaves, as well as on the Education Informatics Network (EBA).
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has warned mask producers against stockpiling amid the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country. We carried out simultaneous raids on all the mask producers in Turkey at 8 a.m. yesterday. We told them to enter into agreement with our health ministry. They have between 10 to 12 hours, we can seize their factories tomorrow. We won't hesitate to do that, we have the authority" Soylu said.
Turkey's death toll from coronavirus rose to 30 as the number of cases surged to 1236, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on March 22. The minister said that a total of 20,345 tests were carried out "until today," adding that all of those who died were of the elderly. "Let's stay at our homes. Let's not take any risks," Koca tweeted.
Turkish police have warned citizens to stay indoors in a bid to curb the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus (COVID-19). Footage shared from the official Twitter account of Turkish police and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu showed police vehicles making announcements in crowded areas.
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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
A pro-government women's rights organization has voiced support to the Istanbul Convention, which aims to combat violence against women and from which the Turkish government seeks to withdraw. In its statement, KADEM responded to widely-known false facts about the convention, especially on it including "LGBT propaganda," saying that it doesn't promote homosexuality.
As a result of global market dynamics gold prices in Turkey have also reached record highs, as a gram of gold currently costs 437 TL. Due to escalating prices, the sale of imitation gold known as 'Syrian gold', has become popular in the jewelry markets of Hatay.
Lake Salda, dubbed Turkey's Maldives, will help NASA scientists guide the search for ancient life on Mars, as it shares many similarities with a dried-up lake bed on the red planet. Lake Salda is the only known lake on Earth that contains the carbonates and depositional features (deltas) similar to those found at Jezero Crater on Mars.
Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in July to secure the return of a fugitive military official, Reuters reported on Aug. 2, citing an unnamed top Algerian security source. Guermit Bounouira, a top aide to the late army chief Ahmed Gaed Salah, is accused of leaking a chart showing movements of army officers including their names and codes, the source said.
Nilüfer Bulut writes: Forced Islamization was one of the methods of survival during what Armenians call “Medz Yeghern,” the great catastrophe. Professor Zerrin Kurtoğlu Şahin says that by complying with the imposition of Islamization, these Armenians (mostly women and children) were assured their biological existence, but their cultural and social connections were ripped away.
Six Syrian students living in the southern province of Hatay were the victims of a racist attack, leaving two in critical condition. “I lost nearly all of the male children in my family in the Syrian civil war. We didn't come to Turkey for my brother to be the victim of a racist attack,” said Dua Muhammet, the older sister of one of the boys.
Thousands of Muslim worshipers gathered at Hagia Sophia on July 31 morning to attend Eid al-Adha prayers for the first time since the iconic building's conversion into a mosque. Blue Mosque, which sits just across the Hagia Sophia, however got no attention at all, despite being packed during the Eid al-Adha prayers in previous years.
Hale Gönültaş reports: A Yazidi woman who has been in captivity since 2014 was rescued from a home in Ankara. Abducted by an ISIS member in Iraq, the young woman was trafficked, eventually being tracked down by a family member.
Turkey's ruling AKP is preparing to file a lawsuit against Islamist columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak who called supporters of the Istanbul Convention as "prostitutes" in his column named "AKP's daisies."
Some 1,153 people spent the first day of Eid al-Adha at the emergency wards of Istanbul hospitals after cutting themselves or suffering other injuries while sacrificing agitated sheep and other animals. Seven of these “amateur butchers" were heavily injured and were operated on, Anadolu Agency said.
A group of Greek Orthodox Istanbulites who live abroad slammed a video by the Presidential Communications Directorate that depicted minorities in Turkey living in comfort. The minority noted that the government hadn't taken any steps to permit their return to their ancestral hometown of Istanbul, where they were forced to leave because of political turmoil.
A women's organization rooting for the Istanbul Convention will be holding a rally August 5 to protest consideration by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to recuse from the international treaty against domestic violence and discrimination.
Irish energy giant Eaton Corporation said that they ended their working relationship with Turkish distributor Berg Elektrik upon news that the latter's general manager Alp Erkin had shot and killed their neighbor's dog. While Erkin claimed he killed Nero because the dog bit his wife, Nero's owner noted that the animal was trying to protect its keeper.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said that more than 200,000 passengers arrived in Turkey during the month of June, when Turkish Airlines recommenced international flights. The minister failed to answer a question about layoffs within the country's flagship carrier.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 30 the United States was continuing to evaluate how it would respond to Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems. "We continue to evaluate how to apply sanctions in order to achieve our end objective," Pompeo said.
A group of seven-eight unidentified Turkish citizens on July 26 battered six Syrian children under the age of 18 in Hatay's Kırıkhan district. The local governor's office on July 30 announced that an investigation was launched into the incident and two of the children are receiving treatment at hospital.
An Ankara court has reversed a ban on a gay pride march that was imposed by ODTÜ rectorate in May 2019. The court said that the rectorate's decision had no legal basis as the all-embracing ban enacted by the Ankara Governor's Office in 2017 had been already lifted.
Students enrolled in the Kurdish language departments of universities in Turkey will no longer be allowed to submit their dissertations in Kurdish. Former academic Selim Temo has also announced that from now on, all lectures at these departments will be conducted only in Turkish.
The area in the Hagia Sophia where emperors used to be coronated was left exposed when carpeting was installed in the structure to prepare it for Muslim prayer, Istanbul Culture and Tourism Director Coşkun Yılmaz said. The former museum was opened to Muslim worship on July 24, holding the first mass prayer in decades.
Dozens of celebrities all over the world, including Ellie Goulding, Christina Aguilera, Milla Jovovich and many more, have posted black and white pictures of themselves to voice solidarity with victims of femicides in Turkey. The trend began after women in Turkey said that they don't want to see their pictures in black and white in newspapers after they are killed.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield and his family visited Hagia Sophia to see the restoration works carried out at the site after its conversion into a mosque. "Ambassador Satterfield toured Hagia Sophia to admire its grandeur and technical genius, and better understand the renovation and restoration work to be completed to preserve the universal value of and continued access to this monumental building," the embassy said on July 30.
Economy
The Turkish Lira has devalued drastically against the dollar, reaching almost seven liras on the dollar. Ankara has invested almost $60 billion in currency interventions in 2020 to no avail, Financial Times reported on July 28.
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.