Human Rights
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 26 that being a rich socialist shouldn't be enough to save prominent human rights activist Osman Kavala, as he commented on the Gezi Park trial. "Gezi is a betrayal against this country," Erdoğan said, while claiming that Kavala has pictures with "terrorist organizations." A day earlier, European Parliament called on Turkey to release Kavala and former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
A report prepared by the Forensic Medicine Institute after claims of police torture in the southeastern province of Urfa has said that there are scratches on the people who said that they were tortured by police, but that the wounds "are not deadly." Urfa Bar Association's Human Rights Center head Gökhan Dayık said that torture has been a systematic practice in Urfa since 2015, adding that they witnessed it countless times.
A Turkish court held its first hearing on Feb. 25 of a case against four Kurdish women who attempted to hold a sit-in front of the Gebze Prison in April 2019 to raise awareness about their jailed family members' hunger strikes. The hunger strike movement undertaken by several prisoners last year demanded the end of isolation against jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Turkey's top court ruled that the rights of a participant in Turkey’s 2013 Gezi Park protests had been violated. The Constitutional Court said the right to life as well as right to assembly and demonstration of a lawyer had been violated after she was beaten by the police with batons in Ankara's Kızılay neighborhood. The applicant will be paid 37,500 liras ($6,120) in spiritual damages.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has asked Turkey to submit its defense following an application by a man sacked from his post with a state of emergency decree. "The decision that will be adopted is significant in terms of showing the domestic legal system's contradiction with the norms of international law," the applicant's lawyer told Duvar.
An Istanbul court has released its reasoned decision to acquit nine people in the Gezi Park trial, including Osman Kavala. The court said no credible evidence had been provided to give substance to claims against Kavala. The philanthropist's wiretapped telephone conversations were made “unlawfully,” and therefore could not constitute as “evidence,” it also said.
Two young Kurdish men living in Fatih were beaten by the police in their neighborhood. After their mother and uncle came to the hospital to visit them, they were also beaten by the police. The hospital's security camera recording of the incident is said to be lost.
According to a recent research conducted in Turkey's eight eastern and southeastern provinces, Kurdish parents mostly speak in Turkish with their children. Majority of these parents want Kurdish to be included as a language of instruction in public schools and 72 percent of them want the government to recognize Kurdish as an official language besides Turkish.
Nine officials of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) were released on probation on Feb. 21 in the first hearing of the case in which they were charged with "promoting a terrorist organization." The HDP officials were also accused of "organizing and participating in an illegal meetings and protests." Historian and the co-chair of the party's Şişli branch in central Istanbul, Mutlu Öztürk was among those released.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Turkey to “promptly reverse” its decision to keep Osman Kavala in jail, saying extending his arrest is a "travesty." The re-arrest of Kavala "shows how Turkey’s criminal justice system is politically manipulated, with detention and prosecutions pursued at the political whim of the president,” said HRW chief Kenneth Roth.
Osman Kavala had to abandon the snails he was looking after in Silivri Prison after a court ordered his rearrest hours after another court ruled to acquit him. Following his acquittal, Kavala wanted to take the snails he looked after in Silivri Prison home, but had to give them to his lawyer when a detention warrant was issued.
Jailed mafia leader Kürşat Yılmaz said that he was shown a picture of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in the past in order for him to murder Dink. "İsmail Issız, Ömer Küçükyurt and Hüseyin Albay came to me for the murder. I don't remember who but one of them showed me a picture of Dink and said, 'Murder him too. We will protect you,'" he said.
Muslim rights leader Malcolm X remains a role model for many 55 years after his death, his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz said at an event in the Aegean province of İzmir that was organized by the Office of the Presidency. Shabazz also said Malcolm X was arguably the most cherished Muslim-American in pop culture,.
A seminar held by İzmir Police for public servants listed "heightened sensitivity towards environmental issues, animal rights and human rights violations" as the usual qualities exhibited by people with terrorist tendencies. Other qualities included a lack of religious faith and nationalist feelings, being perceptive and spending time on social media.
World-renowned economist Daron Acemoğlu has shared a message of support and solidarity for his high school friend Mutlu Öztürk, the HDP's Şişli district branch co-chair. Along with other eight party officials, Öztürk has been held in pre-trial detention at Silivri Prison since Oct. 14, 2019.
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Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Politics
Local medical device companies have warned the Turkish Health Ministry that if debts owed by the government hospitals remain unpaid, there could be a “disruption in the health services” starting as early as in October. The Turkish Medical Equipment and Devices Manufacturers Association (TÜDER) has said that local medical firms have been waiting for the last 16 months to get their payment which has reached to around $26 billion Turkish Liras ($3.4 billion) in total.
Turkish Justice Ministry has dismissed a parliamentary question on the release of a rapist soldier for being "offensive." Uca in her question asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to reveal the reason for why former specialized sergeant Musa Orhan was released despite raping İpek Er. The ministry said that the question can be accepted if the terms found "crude and offensive" are removed.
Turkey reportedly didn't apprehend ISIS militant Yunus Durmaz responsible for deadly attacks in Turkey despite determining his location 19 times between April 29 and May 19, 2016. Durmaz, who was sought over the attacks in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, the Suruç district of the southeastern province of Urfa, the capital Ankara and Istanbul's Taksim, blew himself up during a police raid on an ISIS cell in 2016.
An 80-year-old inmate who was imprisoned for holding a Muslim memorial service in Kurdish died on Sept. 23, without being allowed to see his family, pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said. The old man's conviction should have been delayed in the first place since he was ill, the deputy added.
Former Zaman daily columnist Mümtazer Türköne has been released from jail following Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli's call for his retrial. Türköne's lawyer Figen Çalıkuşu has said she believes the release came after the Court of Cassation overturned the sentence following an appeal.
Turkey will not make any concessions over its claims in the eastern Mediterranean, said a statement issued following the country's National Security Council (MGK) meeting. “It has been once again emphasized that Turkey will not make a concession with regards to its rights and interests on land, sea or in the air, as has been the case up until today,” the statement read.
A group of lawyers close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have submitted their application to the Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) to form a second bar association in Istanbul. The group has collected just over 2,000 signatures required to establish their own association as per a new legislation which was passed by Turkish parliament in July of this year.
The trial into the murder of a 12-year-old girl shot dead on Oct. 12, 2015 in Diyarbakır during a curfew, has been put on hold following the Interior Ministry's refusal to grant permission for the prosecution of the police officer in question.
The Ankara Medical Chamber has said that the number of healthcare staff who have contracted the COVID-19 in the city has increased by 61 in the last eight days, reaching to a total of 943.
The Turkish government is reportedly planning to hand prison sentences between two months and a year to those violating quarantine rules based on an article of the Turkish Penal Code, which regulates behavior in violation of the measures against contagious diseases. The country on Sept. 23 announced the death toll as 72 - its highest since the beginning of May.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) police teams on Sept. 24 demolished some restaurants and cafes on Heybeliada on the grounds that they were unlicensed. Café owners slammed the İBB's move saying that they had already paid an "occupancy fee" to the local management to use the lands in question.
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş will carry the indictments into him as medals, as he commented on a recent visit by a chief public prosecutor to the presidential palace. "We know that there are prosecutors lined up in front of Erdoğan," the CHP leader said.
Construction on Turkey's first nuclear power plant is ongoing amid reports of unpaid wages, the general manager said on Sept. 23. While management said it was contract companies that were lagging behind on payments, they launched an investigation into the wages nonetheless.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield has said debts owed by Turkish government hospitals to American pharmaceutical companies had risen to around $2.3 billion, warning that there will be consequences for non-payment of debt or reductions in payment. "Companies will consider departing the Turkish market or will reduce exposure to Turkish market. This is not a direction which serves the interests of Turkey," he said on Sept. 23.
The Turkish Health Ministry is under scrutiny over the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases it announces daily. "This is not the exact number of positive cases. However, this is not the number of patients receiving treatment at hospitals only," the ministry reportedly told Prof. Mehmet Ceyhan, prompting confusion on what the numbers on the daily coronavirus chart mean.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cautioned Turkey against further deployment of equipment from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei on its soil, saying it would complicate the military cooperation between the two NATO allies. The U.S. believes Huawei Technologies’ apparatus could be used for espionage.
CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel has asked the government to reveal who received millions of dollars of bribe from shady Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab. "It's said that $80 million of this money was given to a single politician. Will the Financial Crime Investigation Board, Turkish Treasury, Court of Accounts and other auditors be mobilized?" Özel asked.
Turkey on Sept. 23 recorded more than 70 daily coronavirus deaths for the first time since May. Seventy two people died over the past 24 hours due to the COVID-19 in Turkey, while 1,767 new cases were diagnosed, according to the daily figures the Health Ministry announced on a COVID-19 dedicated website on Sept. 23.
A women's company in the western province of Uşak work to protect an art they inherited from their mothers, the endangered technique of weaving that produces "Turkish rugs," as they are known globally. Represented in Renaissance paintings, the Uşak rugs were once a symbol of wealth and prestige.
Economy
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Turkish Airlines (THY) observed a drop of almost 65 percent in the number of August travelers compared to the year before. Domestic flights saw a smaller drop of 47.1 percent, while international flights shrank by 75.4 percent, THY said.
Urban Beat
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Heavy presence of the Asian tiger mosquito was detected in four Istanbul districts, concerning locals as the bug can carry malaria, the Zika virus and encephalitis. The invasive species have been increasing in population around Istanbul in the past decade, an Istanbul University veterinarian said.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.