Media
Turkish TV host Metin Uca was sentenced to more than 14 months in prison on the charges of "insulting an officer on duty" because of tweets that called out Ankara's official news agency on releasing results of the 2018 election before counting was over. The TV host said that his intention was to "speak up against the manipulation of the narrative and to make sure volunteers stayed with the ballots."
Turkish factchecking organization Teyit revealed that pro-government Demirören News Agency used a manipulated picture in its report on a Greek flag being hung on an Ottoman mosque. Teyit said that the photograph DHA released had been taken in 2015 and that the flag had been digitally added to the image.
Turkey's state-run Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) has started broadcasting news on its new Russian language platform that will play "an active role in fighting disinformation and manipulation as a reliable source of news in the Russophone world with its quality journalism." It will monitor "the pulse of the region through local correspondents in many localities over a wide geography and especially in Moscow."
Turkey’s media watchdog has penalized a program on the pro-government Ülke TV with a three-time broadcast cancellation over on-air comments of an Islamist TV commentator that her family would be able to “take out at least 50 [coup supporters]” if another coup attempt were to occur.
Turkey's Press Advertisment Agency (BİK) has imposed a 35-day ban on sending ads to the daily Cumhuriyet for reporting on an illegal construction facilitated by Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on a patch of land that he rented in Istanbul. The Cumhuriyet article, which was used as the ground that the ban was justified, is currently inaccessible in Turkey without using a VPN.
A member of Turkey’s media watchdog council said that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) attempts at manipulating the news cycle no longer worked. The councilman noted that Ankara’s media outlets are ineffective as there is a dramatic gap between their narrative and the reality of the citizens’ lives.
Evening news anchorman for FOX TV Fatih Portakal slammed pro-government news outlet Yeni Asır for their reporting that Portakal had illegal construction on his land in the western province of Izmir. Portakal said that the structures alleged to be illegal were a chicken coop, garage and a wooden deck, and slammed the news outlets for releasing the asdress and photos of his land and jeopardizing the safety of his family.
Dersim Mayor Mayor Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu claims that three leading pro-government news agencies in Turkey, have been imposing a de facto embargo on the province. Maçoğlu told the daily BirGün that although local reporters send their stories from Dersim, the headquarters would not publish them. Maçoğlu is the only mayor in the country elected from the Turkish Communist Party (TKP).
Istanbul prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Birgün columnist Erk Acarer over a report covering the funeral ceremony of an operative of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) killed in Libya. Acarer, who is now living in exile in Germany, is one of the eight journalists standing trial in the case.
Netflix has removed an episode of “Designated Survivor,” in which a fictitious Turkish president is portrayed as a villain, from its service in Turkey following a demand by the Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK). The episode in question, the seventh one of season two, is still available on Netflix in all other countries.
Turkey's media watchdog penalized a news show on the opposition news broadcaster Halk TV with a five-time broadcast cancellation and a monetary fine. A member of the watchdog council from the main opposition CHP İlhan Taşcı slammed the watchdog institution for what he deemed to be obvious bias.
Turkish prosecutors have sought a prison sentence of up to three years for journalist and news anchor Fatih Portakal, alleging that he broke the law in a Tweet which implied that the state was borrowing from banks amid economic difficulties exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic. In their indictment, prosecutors accuse Portakal of violating banking legislation. Portakal hosts one of the most popular programs in the country is among the few dissenting voices that remain in mainstream media.
Four journalists of the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper have given their testimonies to the Istanbul police station over a news report concerning illegal construction undertaken by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide Fahrettin Altun on a land in Istanbul’s Kuzguncuk neighborhood. The journalists said that the news piece in question does not have "a purpose of showing Altun as a target" and "was penned for the purpose of journalism."
Turkey's Interior Ministry detained 402 social media users in the past 42 days, on the grounds that they made "provocative comments about COVID-19." The ministry inspected some 6,362 social media accounts, and deemed 855 users "suspicious."
Turkish daily Hürriyet has been subject to criticism over a letter suggesting that the newspaper has been publishing advertorials without placing the disclaimer of 'this is an advertisement.' The newspaper's editor-in-chief Ahmet Hakan has refuted the allegations, saying the letter in question was not printed by Hürriyet itself, but an ad agency, which the newspaper is now reconsidering working with.
Editor's Picks
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.
Ahmet Murat Aytaç writes: The recent inhumane attack against migrant workers that took place in the Mazıdağı district of Sakarya should be analyzed within the framework of economic oppression. No matter what triggered the assaults, the general tendency in Turkey right now is to deny the ethnic dimension of the conflict.
Politics
A Turkish court has sentenced Halis Bayancuk, who is described as the leader of ISIS in Turkey, to 12 years and six months in jail. Bayancuk, who goes by the name Abu Hanzala, has been detained several times before in Turkey, but only to be freed later because of a lack of evidence or problems involving the charges against him.
Gli the Hagia Sophia cat has fallen ill two months after the site was converted into a mosque and will live away from people in a private room. Caretakers of the 16-year-old cat, who was born at Hagia Sophia, previously warned worshippers to not overwhelm Gli after footage of them taking pictures of Gli with flashes and feeding him unhealthy food emerged on social media.
Islamist cult leader Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü has said that he is ready to name a total of 150 Salafi associations taking up arms as part of their preparations to fight in Turkey. "I've made a list of these associations and in which provinces they are located. If the prosecutors summon me and ask me what I know, I'm ready to name at least 150 of them," a journalist cited Ünlü as saying.
İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener has slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for "giving the youth a massive prison," as she commented on the unemployment figures and the economy. "You gave them unemployment, hopelessness and depression," Akşener said. Your gift to the youth is a country that they don't feel belonging to and that they can't breathe in," she added.
AKP Group Deputy Chair Bülent Turan has praised President Erdoğan for "making" French President Macron tweet in Turkish. "Macron tweeted in Turkish and said that he is ready for dialogue. The name of the man who made a French President tweet in Turkish is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan," Turan said. Erdoğan also responded to Macron's gesture, saying that Turkey intends to listen to all sincere calls and make room for diplomacy.
Turkey has strongly condemned a Greek daily for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın deeming the move "a provocation." Another government official to condemn the headline was Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who said that the headline "will remain as a document of shame" in the history of the Greek press.
The HDP has said that its MYK member Serhat Aktemur was abducted in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır by individuals claiming to be National Intelligence Organization (MİT) members. Aktemur said that the three individuals in question threatened to kill him by saying, "If we see you around, we'll shoot you."
Turkish paraglider Hasan Kaya took to the skies in southern Turkey with a bed pretending to sleep. Kaval has previously attached a metal-framed red leather sofa with wheels and a television to a parachute and took to the skies in Turkey’s southwestern Ölüdeniz neighborhood.
Some 40 medical chambers affiliated with the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) have released a joint statement reiterating their support for the organization. “We are fortunate to have our professional organization that prioritizes and defends the right of public health, and does not compromise when it comes to scientific and free thinking," the chambers said, following MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's call for the TTB's closure.
Since early summer, forest fires have been raging in the Cudi Mountains in Turkey's southeastern province of Şırnak amid claims that the blazes erupted due to deliberate military operations in the area. Ecologist Asrın Keleş from the People's Democratic Congress (HDK) said that it was abundantly clear that the fires did not erupt due to natural causes. "We received information that the forests were being shot with gunfire at night,” Keleş said.
A Turkish court sentenced former co-chair of Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Sebahat Tuncel to 11 months in prison on charges of "insulting" the president, because she said Erdoğan was "an enemy of women and Kurds."
Turkey's Court of Cassation, the top appeals court, has found a male employee at fault for using the women's toilet at the store where he was working at. The court rejected the employee's demand for a compensation after he was fired from his job.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has determined that dozens of firms and restaurants in Turkey use fake ingredients in their products to cut down on costs. With the Turkish lira continuing to decline in value as the country experiences a serious economic downturn, some food producers and restaurants are cutting on costs and cutting corners, and deceiving their customers in the process.
Several Turkish citizens have sent petitions to the parliament, raising their concerns about the safety of 5G technology. The parliament's committee on petition has asked the issue to the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (BTK) and was told that Turkey was “working to produce the 5G infrastructure locally.”
Bursts of steam rising from Mount Nemrut have raised concern among locals, amid speculations that the dormant volcano can become active again if triggered by earthquakes. “There are many fault lines arund Mount Nemrut. If these fault lines are ruptured, theoretically a [volcanic] movement can occur in Mount Nemrut. This is always a possibility,” Prof. Dr. Aydın Büyük Saraç said.
Enis Berberoğlu's lawyer has called for the reinstatement of his client's deputy status after the Constitutional Court ruled that the former CHP lawmaker's rights were violated when he was dismissed from parliament earlier this year.
President Erdoğan has said that the government is preparing to introduce new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, since "people have not complied with the rules." The virus infections began increasing after Ankara loosened restrictions on public activity, starting in June. Critics have also accused the government of hypocrisy with regards to the measures, pointing out that social distancing measures were being overlooked in several occasions, such as the rallies of the AKP.
Islamic communities that are known to have close ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have recently speeded up efforts to establish their own foundations. On Sept. 17, two more such foundations have been established, one of which has close ties to the İsmailağa community, while the other has close ties to pro-government KİHMED.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 18 Turkey was saddened by news that Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj wants to quit next month. "A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us," Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that Turkish delegations may hold talks with Sarraj's government in the coming week.
Various rights groups have said that human rights violations recorded in prisons have spiked during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a recent example of the rights violation, the groups said that authorities had confiscated several personal belongings of a group of inmates during their transfer to two newly opened Diyarbakır prisons.
The mother of a murder suspect was found dead with a single bullet to the back of her head on Sept. 17. Her son, a suspect in his girlfriend's death, her husband and the family's attorney blamed her death on TV host Müge Anlı because she had said the mother had "failed to raise a son."
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.
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
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.
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.
The tomb and gold jewels of a woman dubbed the "Carian Princess" can now be seen in the Aegean province of Muğla's Bodrum Castle. Recovered in 1989, the body is thought to belong to a woman in her 40s.
Turkey's news agenda has focused on "renovations" that resulted in dramatic results, often adding incoherent elements. Most recently, footage of "renovation" in Istanbul's Galata Tower had shown workers drilling into original walls.