Media
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.
A member of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) Faruk Bildirici criticized a recent amendment concerning how public service announcements are labeled. According to Bildirici, 30-45 second commercial broadcasts on radio or television are normally quite expensive, but if they are designated as a public service announcement or a mandatory broadcast, they are free. As such, RTÜK receives a large number of applications for public service announcements, and many of these come from government ministries.
A lawsuit filed against prominent investigative journalist Çiğdem Toker has been dropped. The Şenbay Mining company was seeking 1.5 million TL in damages from Toker due to an article she wrote in which she claimed that the company was essentially handed a contract to help build a metro route to Istanbul's new airport without having to compete in a tender.
The collapse of the security situation in Syrian Kurdistan is due to a Turkish offensive as well as a counter-offensive led by the Syrian government, which has begun to deploy its forces in the northeast after having reached an accord with the local Kurdish authorities.
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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
Turkish authorities on Aug. 3 ordered the closure of Çeşme's popular Momo Beach Club for 15 days as part of coronavirus measures after world-famous Ukrainian model Daria Kyryliuk said that she and her friends were attacked by the entertainment venue's security guards. Following Kyryliuk's statement, Turkish Culture Minister Nuri Ersoy had said that "no one will get away with this unacceptable hillbilly incident.”
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.
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.