Human Rights
Turkey is the second biggest jailer of journalists with 47 imprisoned in 2019, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Turkey is down from first place for the first time in four years. The report also noted that 100 news organizations were closed under the current government, and that working journalists were also in legal battles and being accused of terrorism.
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Turkey violated the rights of prominent philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala, urging the country to free him immediately. The court on Dec. 10 ruled that Kavala's right to liberty and security, right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of detention and the limitation on use of restrictions on rights were violated.
Some 82.1 percent of Turks believe that people's fundamental rights and freedoms are being violated in the country, according to a survey conducted by Amnesty Turkey. Some 80 percent of the interviewees believe that everyone is equal before the law in Turkey; but 54.4 percent of the interviewees have said that when it comes to implementation, people cannot enjoy these rights equally.
Turkey's top court has ruled for rights violation in a case into the wounding of a protester with a tear gas canister shot by police during Gezi Park protests. "The force used against the applicant can't be said to be necessary because public officials can't prove that the applicant was not peaceful," the court said, while also ruling for Şahin to be paid 20,000 Turkish Liras as compensation.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Turkey to compensate two Turkish nationals after they were imposed a punitive fine for shouting the slogan of “Bijî Serok Apo” (Kurdish for 'Long Live President Apo'). The ECHR said in its ruling that Turkey had violated the Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides the right to freedom of expression.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) is set to issue its ruling in the case into the prominent philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala, who is is accused of being one of the “managers and organizers” of 2013 Gezi Park protests, which took place in Istanbul’s Taksim following harsh government response to a group of protesters trying to prevent the cutting down of trees for a large development project planned by the government, on Dec. 10.
Due to a major increase in incarcerations following the failed July 2016 coup attempt, Turkey's prisons have become overcrowded, and health issues have become a frequent concern. The figures indicate that 1334 prisoners are currently sick, with 457 of them suffering from severe health problems. Between 2017-2019, the Human Rights Association (IHD) determined that 44 prisoners died in jail.
A court case has been launched against 12 university students in the province of Antalya on charges of membership in an illegal organization after they sang a song in Kurdish during the Nowruz celebrations in the spring of last year. Four of the students are currently under arrest, including Devrim Ayık, who is battling colon cancer.
A report prepared by Hacettepe University shows the dire circumstances Syrian refugee women and children face. According to the report, one in every 37 Syrian child dies before reaching the age of five in Turkey. "Women's status is different because of the patriarchal structure. The society accepts child marriages and forced marriages, which are common. Interbirth intervals are short," an UNFPA official said.
Cemal Yıldırım, who was dismissed from his post in the Ankara Revenue under the Treasury and Finance Ministry three years ago, has been carrying out protests in different parts of Ankara, which resulted in him getting detained nearly 300 times. "There's no law in real terms. There is no ban on demonstrations in Ankara. But the police officers who detain us say that it's the governor's office's decision. I can't use my rights," Yıldırım said.
Lawyers of former employees of daily Cumhuriyet have asked for a repetition of the hearing held on Nov. 21, saying that the court failed to act in accordance with the procedures despite the lawyers' application for recusal. Following the ruling, lawyer Bülent Utku, who was being tried in the case, and his lawyers appealed for recusal and thus repetition of the hearing, while citing the article preventing the appointment of the same judge in cases of retrial as one of the reasons for their move.
3,000 minors in Turkey are serving prison sentences, and more than half of them are jailed at adult penitentiaries, according to a report prepared by the Civil Society in the Penal System (CİSST) association. The report also indicated that children were being held in solitary confinement, despite the fact that this is illegal.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has ruled the state to pay 20,000 Turkish Liras as compensation to sculptor Mehmet Aksoy, whose 35-meter-tall "Monument to Humanity" was demolished after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed it as being a "freak." The top court has said that Aksoy's freedom of expression was violated with the demolition, adding that the work of art could have been transferred somewhere else.
Pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party mayor İrfan Sarı of the district of Yüksekova in Turkey's eastern province of Hakkari was stripped from office by the government earlier this year and subsequently arrested. His family claims Sarı has been subjected to poor treatment in solitary confinement and has been unable to receive his medications.
The case of 12-year-old Uğur Kaymaz, who was shot and killed by police alongside his father outside of their home in the Kızıltepe district in the southeastern province of Mardin in 2004 has been moved by lawyers to the European Court of Human rights after Turkish courts rejected applications for a retrial against the police who were acquitted in the shootings.
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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
Germany has approved 25.9 million euros worth of arms deliveries to Turkey since Ankara's military operation into northeastern Syria on Oct. 9, 2019, according to the response to a parliamentary question filed by Die Linke MP Sevim Dağdelen. According to the German Economics Ministry, there was no weapons of war among these exports, whereas Dağdelen said these arms could also be made operational for use in Syria.
The pilot of an Ankara-Munich Turkish Airlines flight was forced to abort landing after two passengers attacked a woman with disabilities. No one was wounded in the incident and German police detained the assailants, who also reportedly attacked security forces, upon landing.
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.
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.