Human Rights
Former HDP leader Demirtaş has said that his lawyers cannot access the updated version of his case file, which prevents them from coming to the court hearings prepared in advance. He said that he has suspicions that the Justice Ministry is behind this implementation. “This is a violation of right to a fair trial. It is restricting the right of defense in an explicit way,” he said.
Following an ISIS bomb attack that occurred on June 5, 2015 in Diyarbakır during a rally of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), Lisa Çalan lost both of her legs. Çalan was recently fired from her job at the Diyarbakır Municipality by the appointed mayor that was chosen by the government to run the city after the democratically-elected HDP mayor was stripped from his post last year.
The suicide of Sibel Ünli, who was a third-year literature student at Istanbul University, sheds light on the financial challenges that youth face in Turkey. Her social media posts provide an insight on how students are trying to continue their lives in Turkey's most expensive city. "Can I eat with one lira? I have no money left on my cafeteria card," Ünli, who was volunteering for the homeless, said in one of her Twitter posts.
A report by the Association for Solidarity with Inmate and Convict Families (TUAY-DER) revealed that inmates from a prison in the eastern city of Erzurum were not allowed to see a dentist unless they had seven decayed teeth. Among the inmates' further complaints were overcrowding, body searches that border physical harassment, raid-like cell searches, lack of access to books and magazines, surveying of personal notebooks and insufficient and non-hygienic food.
Some 50 sick inmates died in prisons throughout 2019 in Turkey and no information on the health condition of sick prisoners can be obtained from the Justice Ministry, human rights groups said, adding that rights violations deteriorated following the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt and the subsequent state of emergency. "Eighteen prisoners are bedridden and can't fulfill their needs on their own," a human rights activist said.
As eight years have passed since the massacre that killed 34 people, of whom 19 were children, in the Roboski village of the southeastern province of Şırnak, the village continues to carry traces of the massacre, with no suspects brought to justice and wounds kept unhealed. "Life goes on under a constant state of mourning," Ferhat Encü, who lost 11 of his relatives in the Turkish army airstrikes, said.
Turkey's Justice Ministry sent the translation to Istanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court reportedly before the hearing of the case into renowned businessman, philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala, who has been in jail for over two years, but the court saw the ECHR decision after ruling for the continuation of Kavala's arrest. "If the court had the willingness to release him, it would have done so," one of the lawyers said.
A Mardin court has ruled that liking posts that make PKK propaganda doesn't constitute the crime of making terror propaganda, hence setting a precedent in a country that thousands of people were handed jail terms over their social media activities. "The posts with pictures that include propaganda need to be published in a way that other people would see in order for the crime of propaganda to occur," it ruled.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has ruled that a ban on Wikipedia that has lasted for 2.5 years to be a rights violation, and has called for the ban to be removed. Other popular websites like and Paypal also remain banned in the country.
A Turkish court has used the provision of “unjust provocation” to reduce the jail terms of six inmates found guilty of killing another inmate. The court accepted the defendants' defense that the victim Ulaş Yurdakul was displaying "provocative" behaviors despite a phone call evidence that revealed Yurdakul was killed due to his being a Kurd from Batman.
Several jailed members of the music collective Grup Yorum have been on hunger strikes while behind bars on terror charges. Bahar Kurt, Barış Yüksel, Ibrahim Gökçek, Helin Bölek and Ali Aracı have all been on strike now for between 120 and 196 days. Bölek, who was released on Nov. 20, has experienced muscle and joint pain and nervous system problems.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has ruled that punishing impoliteness on social media would lead to violations of the freedom of expression in a case into an argument between two lawyers in a Facebook group consisting of judges, prosecutors and lawyers, while acknowledging that the "impolite" post included remarks that can be accepted as insulting.
Osman Kavala, a renowned philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist, will remain in jail despite a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) call for his release. "The value of my freedom is based on international norms. That is also what the ECHR ruling indicates. I demand an end to this unlawful and discriminatory practice," Kavala told the court. The next hearing of the trial will be held on Jan. 28, 2020.
Sergey Lagodinsky, Chair of the European Parliament's EU-Turkey Delegation and spokesperson for foreign policy of the Greens/EFA group, will visit Istanbul in order to monitor the trial of Osman Kavala, a renowned philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist who has been in jail for over two years, closely. "I hope Kavala will finally be allowed to reunite with his family after more than two years in prison," Lagodinsky said.
Yazidis who were repeatedly subjected to attacks and threats have decided to leave Turkey and will go to Germany. "Karabulut and Biter families promised in front of the governor that no one would plow the lands in our villages except us. However, they threatened us once again after we left the meeting," one of the members of the Yazidi family said, adding that they wish to return to their lands someday.
Editor's Picks
Vural Özdemir writes: Both scientists and journalists seek the truth. But the truth is caught between a rock and a hard place with COVID-19. We are facing, on the one hand, an anti-science movement and, on the other hand, scientific essentialism that omits the role of power politics and human values in the making of truth. As an antidote, we need a new narrative on evidence frameworks in journalism that expands on the classic 5W + 1H.
Musa Özuğurlu writes: Russia, by any means, wishes to see al-Assad in power at least for another term. It is trying quite unattainable formulas to make it possible for Muslim Brotherhood to return to Damascus after so many years. Let us see whether or not these attempts will bring the political transition and thus relief to Syria?
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been working on regulations that would control social media following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks on completely shutting the platforms or controlling them. A draft of the bill consisting of nine articles on the issue has been ready for a long time, sources told Duvar, adding that the examinations regarding international regulations are ongoing.
NATO has put a defense plan for Poland and Baltic states into action after Turkey dropped its objections, officials from Lithuania, Poland and France have said. NATO declined to comment directly, saying that it "has plans in place to protect all allies. Those plans are regularly revised and updated."
Germany will keep reviewing travel advice for Turkey, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on July 2, saying any decisions were coordinated with the EU and based on reliable data on infections and the health situation. Earlier, Turkey said that it is disappointed by the European Union's decision to exclude it from the list of countries recommended for non-essential travel.
Turkey's flagship carrier is planning to cut pilots' wages in half, lowering other paychecks and possibly restructure their payment scheme, a union representative told Bloomberg. Turkish Airlines paused commercial flights for about three months during the pandemic.
Turkey is remembering victims of the Sivas Massacre, which took place when a large group of radical Islamists set the Madımak Hotel in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas on fire on July 2, 1993, killing 33 intellectuals and two hotel personnel, on 27th anniversary. Also on July 2, a parliamentary inquiry to reveal the perpetrators of the Sivas Massacre was rejected by lawmakers of the AKP, MHP and the İYİ Party.
A Turkish court on July 2 heard a case about converting Istanbul's sixth century Hagia Sophia back into a mosque and will announce its verdict within 15 days, a lawyer said, on an issue which has drawn international expressions of concern. Greece said Turkey risked opening up "a huge emotional chasm" with Christian countries if it pressed ahead with the proposal to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Turkey has carried out the largest anti-narcotics operation in its history, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on June 30, adding that it was conducted in cooperation with nine countries. "Traffic worth 500 million liras was prevented. It was the biggest operation in Turkey's history in terms of preventing income from drugs and crime," Soylu said.
Austria pledged on June 29 to find out who was behind clashes between Kurdish and Turkish protesters in the Austrian capital last week. "Austria's ambassador to Ankara will be invited to our ministry and informed of our concern," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, accusing Austrian security forces of meting out "harsh" treatment to the Turkish protesters.
Turkey shut down a total of 119 media outlets following the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, Vice President Fuat Oktay said in response to a parliamentary question submitted by Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Muazzez Orhan. A total of 53 newspapers, 20 magazines, 16 TV channels, 24 radio stations and six news agencies were shut down with state of emergency decrees.
A lawyer from Van Bar Association Migration and Asylum Commission said that the death toll in the migrant boat accident in Lake Van is unknown. "Unfortunately we don't have enough information about the boat that sank in Van Lake over the weekend. The Van Bar Association hasn't received a public defender request for the boat yet."
Turkish authorities arrested one person and detained 11 others for insulting Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak's family through their social media posts, state-run Anadolu Agency said on July 1. The suspects face charges of "insulting a public official," the agency said.
The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure Cora van Nieuwenhuizen has called on citizens of Turkish descent not to visit Turkey unless it is "mandatory," saying holidays or family visits are not essential. "Going to a country on the orange list is irresponsible and is an anti-social behavior," Nieuwenhuizen said. Netherlands’ coronavirus travel advice for Turkey currently stands at ‘orange’: travel only if absolutely essential.
The Turkish Competition Authority has launched a probe into German automotive giants Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The authority's announcement on July 1 came as Volkswagen AG canceled plans to build a car factory in Turkey after the coronavirus pandemic jolted auto markets.
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his counterparts from Turkey and Iran on July 1 that there was a need for peaceful dialogue between the opposing forces in Syrian war. "An inclusive inter-Syrian dialogue should be actively promoted within the framework of the constitutional committee in Geneva. I propose to support this process, to help the participants to meet and start a direct dialogue," Putin said.
Turkey's media watchdog issued a five-day blackout to two news broadcasters that are critical of the government. Both broadcasters will lose their licenses if they receive another broadcast interruption fine.
Turkish Deputy Parliament Speaker and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Levent Gök broke a world record on running the longest uninterrupted session in a national parliament with eight hours and 13 minutes.
Turkey's ambassador to France İsmail Hakkı Musa said on July 1 that Paris had informed NATO it was suspending its involvement in a naval operation in the Mediterranean after a probe into an incident between French and Turkish warships did not back Paris' claims. "I had the information yesterday, it seems that the Courbet is withdrawing from this NATO exercise," he said.
The wife of an inmate diagnosed with cancer and coronavirus has urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to release her husband. "This means he has been abandoned to die. I am calling upon the public, the Presidency, and the Ministry of Health: Release my husband right away. There are thousands of [coronavirus] patients in jail, their voices must be heard. People are coming face to face with death at the moment,” she said.
A new testing center in Istanbul Airport will offer all passengers COVID-19 tests for 110 Turkish Liras each (about $16). The center's capacity is an hourly 2,000.
Professor Haluk Savaş who was known for his resistance against Ankara's state of emergency decrees died on June 30. Savaş had been removed from his post at a university with a state of emergency decree and was refused a passport to travel abroad for cancer treatment.
Germany's Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that it was unconstitutional for police to remove posters of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) that Left Party deputy Michel Brandt hung in his office prior to a visit to the Bundestag by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2018.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed off on a new university because of a mistake in an executive order, which then got published in the official gazette. The gazette published a correction the next day, saying the correct word was "faculty" and not "university."
The United States will continue working with Turkish companies producing some parts of F-35 fighter jets until 2022, Turkey's state-owned Anadolu agency quoted a Pentagon spokeswoman as saying on July 1. "Our industry partners will carry out the continuing contracts," she said, adding the Pentagon was still looking for alternatives to Turkey.
Turkey's June inflation rates exceeded experts' expectations at 1.13 percent, almost double the estimates. Meanwhile, annual inflation reached 12.62 percent.
Positive developments in COVID-19 vaccine studies have stopped the steady increase in gold prices. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said on July 1 that their vaccines were effective in increasing recipients' antibodies.
New regulation concerning online and digital banking services will ban bank representatives from asking about users' ID information to confirm their identities. Representatives will instead be asking about digital ID informations and PIN numbers.
Turkey's Trade Ministry legalized 18 installments for touristic spending to incentivize consumers. The new legal installment limit will be applicable to travel agencies, airlines and hotels.
Broadly defined unemployment in Turkey has reached 39 percent according to the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK). The union disputed recently revealed official unemployment rate of 13.2 percent. DİSK claimed that only those looking for a job for a period of four weeks as unemployed were reflected in the official numbers.
Urban Beat
The United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) likened railroads and highways in Turkey's capital Ankara to arteries in an eagle-eye shot of the city at night, dubbed "photo of the day" on June 28.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on June 25 announced that the municipality purchased a portrait of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II at a London auction. According to the London-based world-famous Christie's auction house, the municipality's winning bid amounted to £770,000 ($955,000) for the oil painting, which is believed to be the work of Italian painter Gentile Bellini in 1480.
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry will be turning the iconic Galata Tower into a museum. The ministry will also launch a "culture route" that spans from the tower, along Istiklal Avenue and to Taksim Square. Minister Ersoy also said that the construction of the AKM would be completed within a month, ongoing since February 2019.
Turkey's first mass event after the COVID-19 pandemic brought together 50 ambassadors and their families, press and businessmen together in Mediterranean Antalya's Aspendos Theater. The concert was performed by Turkey's seven tenors, accompanied by the Antalya Opera and Ballet's orchestra.
Istanbul's 28th LGBTI+ Pride week started on June 22 with a week-long schedule, entirely planned online. After having been banned for the past five years, the Pride march will also be carried out digitally this year. The theme of the Pride week is "Where am I?" focusing on safe spaces for queers during the COVID-19 pandemic and immigration.