Media
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has praised former media mogul Aydın Doğan, while thanking him on behalf of the country and the people. Doğan, who founded and ran Doğan Holding until 2010 and is currently the honorary chairman of the conglomerate, had a rocky relationship with Erdoğan before selling the company's media arm to pro-government Demirören Holding in 2018. "In addition to being a successful businessman, he is a good culture and arts man," Erdoğan said.
On Dec. 3, 1994 Istanbul and Ankara offices of the Özgür Ülke (Free Country) newspaper were bombed. One employee was killed and 23 were injured in the attacks. The perpetrators of the bombing were never caught.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay has said that the press cards of 685 journalists were canceled over "national security." "Press cards of 685 press members who were determined to be working for or in contact with media outlets that were determined to be members of or in contact with groups that pose threats against national security were canceled in the process following the July 15 treacherous coup attempt," he said.
Journalists who were previously fired from daily Hürriyet have released a video clip, demanding their severance pay from the company. The journalists are believed to have been fired for their membership in the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS).
Turkey's Constiutional Court (AYM) has ruled than an article guaranteeing that journalists who do not receive their overtime pay on time get an additional five percent per day that it is not paid is unconstitutional, declaring that the article puts too much of a burden on the employer. Independent lawyers and unions criticize the court's decision for comparing conditions required for a free press with other professions.
An Istanbul court has confirmed the convictions against 12 former employees of Cumhuriyet, despite their sentences having been overturned by a higher court in September. The Court of Cassation, Turkey's high court of appeals, had in September overturned the sentences and freed the former journalists pending retrial. But in a ruling on Nov. 21, the lower court ignored that decision and reconfirmed the original sentences, with the exception of one journalist – Kadri Gürsel – who was acquitted.
Eight international press freedom and journalism organizations have highlighted the continued jailing of over 120 journalists in Turkey as "a deep stain on the country's human rights record" at the launch of a joint report in Brussels. "Turkey must urgently revise all anti-terror and defamation laws, repeatedly abused to silence critical press. In particular it must end the deliberate conflation of public criticism with terrorism propaganda," says the report.
An official from the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Turkey's broadcast authority, has said that amendments will be made regarding the content that is considered admissible in ice cream adds, which he said “exceeded moral boundaries."
The Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) will be organizing an event on fighting impunity in political assassinations of journalists and intellectuals on Nov. 15 with the families and colleagues of slain journalists in Turkey, Malta and Serbia.
Last week, the mainstream daily Hürriyet newspaper fired dozens of journalists by sending emails or letters to their homes, in a startling move that marks yet another blow to the already-troubled state of the Turkish media. The 43 journalists were members of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), which in a statement referred to the firings as a “liquidation” of the union members working at the paper. The ensuing backlash included the resignation of the paper's editor-in-chief and some of its most notable columnists.
The first daily newspaper representing Turkey's Alevi minority is expected to come out on Nov. 6. It aims to be an outlet and resource for Alevis and their issues as well as an addition to the country's struggling opposition media.
Faruk Bildirici, a member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and a member of the board of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Türkey's broadcast watchdog authority, was removed his post on Thursday. Bildirici has criticized a recent amendment approved by RTÜK concerning how public service announcements are labeled.
In response to a lawsuit filed by a journalist association in order to stop changes in a regulation that made it easier for the government to cancel press cards, a lawyer for the presidency defended their position by stating that it is in fact not required by law in Turkey to hold a press card in order to practice journalism.
A coalition of 10 international press freedom and journalism organizations has intervened at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in support of a case brought by Idris Sayılgan, a Kurdish journalist from Turkey jailed since 2016 on anti-terror charges. Sayılgan’s appeal to Turkey’s Constitutional Court, filed in July 2018, has gone unanswered. In January 2019, Sayılgan was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison.
Vice President Fuat Oktay responded to a question in parliament by CHP MP Ömer Fethi Gürer regarding press cards. According to Oktay, 3,804 press cards were cancelled in last 5 years.
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?
Politics
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.
Economy
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.