Human Rights
Several members of the Saturday Mothers were detained on July 25 for wanting to mark the 800th week of their vigil at Istanbul's Galatasaray Square. During the gathering, police battered Hanife Yıldız, who last saw her only son, Murat, in 1995 -- when he was 19 and she handed him to Turkish police for questioning.
A thousand words were said for philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala to mark his 1,000th day of imprisonment on July 27. "Conscience and just" topped the list via being written 48 times, which were followed by "humble and humility."
A deputy from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has suggested that further restrictions be implemented on Internet users, limiting access to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) too. Turkey's parliament will soon be voting on a social media restriction bill that will limit access to certain platforms.
A civil servant working for Turkey's Social Security Institution (SGK) was fired from his job on the basis that he sent his children to schools run by followers of the exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, even though the man does not have any children.
Women around Turkey on July 22 protested the brutal murder of 27-year-old Pınar Gültekin by her ex-boyfriend, the latest in a series of femicides in the country, urging Ankara to not back away from the Istanbul Convention. Some officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) recently suggested Ankara's recusal from the international convention, sparking debate within the party itself, as well as nationwide.
A Turkish army strike on PJAK militants in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in late June 2020 failed to take adequate precautions to minimize civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on July 22. “The Turkish military strike on opposition fighters in a resort area seriously injured several civilians and could have harmed many more,” said Belkıs Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch.
A total of 101 intellectuals from different social and political backgrounds in Turkey have urged the country's opposition to unite in a joint statement. "The people who are in despair and undecided are seeking an alternative that they can trust. Absolute threats can only be gotten rid of by absolute objection. The solution is for all the opposition forces to unite in a democracy alliance," they said.
A thousand words that participants will submit to an online effort will be released on the 1,000th day of philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala's incarceration. The deadline for participation was set for July 23.
Police officers in Ankara and Istanbul brutally detained demonstrators commemorating the victims of the 2015 Suruç bombing that killed more than 30 members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF). Police also assaulted lawyers who went to an Istanbul police station to follow-up on detained demonstrators.
Azat Bağa, a 15-year-old shepherd who was injured by soldiers' gunfire said that the soldiers saw they shot him, but walked away. The soldiers were shooting at nearby smugglers on horseback, Bağa said.
A group of artists including actresses Müjde Ar and Meltem Cumbul, actors Rutkay Aziz and Levent Üzümcü, poet Ataol Behramoğlu, singer Edip Akbayram, in Turkey has released a joint statement to say that they're not afraid. While criticizing the government's actions on a number of issues, the artists also called on the opposition "to be more determined and brave."
Women in Turkey reported more than 30,000 cases of domestic violence through the state's Women Support Application (KADES) in the past two years, main opposition deputy Gamze Akkuş Ilgezdi said. "The real data is much more overwhelming and portrays a much more devastating picture," she noted.
Turkey on July 20 commemorates victims of an ISIS suicide bombing in the Suruç district of the southeastern Urfa province, as the search for justice continues on its fifth year. News reports following the attack pointed to how the bombing could have been prevented since authorities had the necessary intelligence on ISIS militants.
The Van branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD) has determined that three penal facilities in the eastern province are guilty of numerous rights violations. Cleaning materials were found to be limited and insufficient while prisoners were only able to access gloves, masks, disinfectant and wet napkins by purchasing them at high prices.
Residents of a village in the southeastern province of Mardin have appealed a ruling that found the Interior Ministry not responsible for the massacre of civilians with state-owned weapons in 2019. “The state has the responsibility to be able to foresee whether or not people to whom guns are entrusted for a public duty will use these guns for personal purposes,” said lawyer Hayrettin Güzel.
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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.