Politics
Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader Ali Babacan has criticized heavy taxes on alcoholic beverages, saying that it leads to smuggling. They are being sold to one third of the prices here in our neighboring countries. The fact that the taxes are high leads to smuggling," Babacan said when asked about increases in private consumption tax (ÖTV).
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has said that the multiple bar system will yield similar damages as the presidential system. "Previously, a presidential system was integrated to the country and the harms of a one-man regime is seen. The Turkish-type multiple bar model was brought to the country's agenda. It's utterly dangerous to impose a system that will lead to problems," the party said.
The ruling AKP's nominee Mustafa Şentop was reelected as parliament speaker on July 7. Şentop's re-election did not come as a surprise as the AKP and its ally MHP hold a parliamentary majority.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has responded to three separate parliamentary inquiries submitted by a HDP deputy with a single link. The inquiries sought to find out why Turkish banks are not giving credit to and opening accounts for citizens dismissed from their state jobs by statutory decrees (KHK).
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed Turkey's Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MÜSİAD) for hosting the owner of a factory a day after seven workers were killed in a blast. "MÜSİAD head and the factory's owner met at a dinner even before the burials and shared pictures of it on social media. You're feeding on human flesh," he said.
A Turkish court has released President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's two former aides who are accused of being involved in the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. Mete Semercioğlu and Erkan Kıvrak were released in the hearing on July 3 despite a prosecutor seeking over 20 years in prison for each.
A group of lawyers last week made a trademark application for the name “Ankara Right and Justice Bar,” although the legislation allowing decentralization of bar associations has not yet been voted on in Turkey's parliament. A main opposition CHP MP slammed this move, saying the “division” of Ankara Bar Association has already started.
The Ankara 19th Heavy Penal Court has rejected a request for release filed by former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. The Ankara court said that the Constitutional Court’s call for Demirtaş's release in June pertains to a separate investigation against the politician.
Former Turkish prime minister and Future Party founder Ahmet Davutoğlu has accused the ruling AKP of being hypocritical for its planned crackdown on social media on the grounds of "immorality," saying that the AKP itself is responsible for unethical behavior by organizing Twitter troll accounts to target dissidents.
Erdoğan's staunch ally MHP leader Bahçeli has become angered with opposition leaders' exchanging humorous posts on Twitter referencing Netflix after Erdoğan threatened to shut down “YouTube, Twitter and Netflix” last week. Bahçeli referred to the opposition as “abasement alliance” (“zillet ittifakı” in Turkish) -- a term used by Erdoğan in several occasions during the election periods.
The Turkish parliament's Justice Commission passed a controversial bill early on July 6 that would allow decentralization of bar associations amid intense criticism. The draft bill is set to be voted in parliament on July 9 and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is planning to take it to the Constitutional Court for annulment if the articles on decentralizing bars are approved.
Turkey's Homeland Party (Vatan Party) leader Doğu Perinçek said that he supported the president's recent push in favor of social media restrictions. Perinçek added that the government should be a dictatorship against "freedoms for corruption, decay, vulgarity and debauchery."
Turkey’s Constitutional Court has rejected İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener's application concerning her expulsion from the MHP back in 2016, saying that it did not have the authority to rule on this subject matter.
Two officials from Turkey's Liberal Democrat Party (LDP) wrestled outside of public Vakıfbank's regional headquarters to protest the assignment of a former wrestler to the board of the institution. Former wrestler Hamza Yerlikaya left his post as advisor to President Erdoğan to join the board.
A prosecutor has deemed sending regards to former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş as a proof of "terrorist organization membership." "Send my regards to Selahattin and other friends," Arslan told a lawyer set to visit Demirtaş and other former HDP deputies Abdullah Zeydan and Sebahat Tuncel in prison.
Editor's Picks
Mois Gabay writes: In my childhood years, I remember wandering in the streets of Beyoğlu alongside my father. Pera was living its last days. At the end of the street near the French Consulate, lay “Tailor Ragıp.” Mr. Ragıp was famous for making trousers that would fit you perfectly. Tailor Blum had trained him.
İslam Özkan writes: Rather than dividing it, it appears that Turkey’s strategy and polarizing policies in Libya have contributed to unifying the enemy camp. Though the attack against the al-Wattiyah airbase did not inflict huge damage on Turkey’s air defense system, Turkey’s efforts in Libya will likely get harder in the future.
Ülkü Doğanay writes: Maybe in January 2016, if the former prime minister, who now resents his colleagues and who kept quiet before the events regarding Şehir University, had remembered that he was also an academic benefiting from free expression, then universities may not have been in the dark position they are in today.
Politics
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Turkey has been declining steadily since June 25, but cautioned the public not to flout measures in place to stem the spread of the virus. "Let's not forget that these decreases [in case numbers] are happening slowly, whereas increases are happening suddenly," he said.
Turkey's Human Rights Association (İHD) has called for the release of Eylem Oyunlu, who is currently behind bars in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on charges of 'assisting a terror organization' with her two young children. Oyunlu's 3-week-old baby is suffering from a blocked tear duct and the two-year-old has chronic bronchitis.
A non-governmental women's platform urged the government to stop proceedings on a legal amendment that would grant amnesty to sexual predators. The platform also urged the government to not consider recusing from the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty against domestic violence and violence against children.
Turkey's media watchdog issued 73 percent of broadcast interruption fines to the same four news broadcasters that are critical of the government, a report by non-governmental organization Transparency International revealed.
84 percent of Turkish citizens expect a second wave of the novel coronavirus epidemic, based on the results of a survey conducted from June 29-July 2 among more than 2,000 people in all of the country’s 81 provinces. 90 percent of people surveyed indicated that the virus had negatively impacted Turkey's economy.
The European Parliament held a debate entitled “Stability and Security in the Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey” on July 9. Several MEPs called for a complete end to accessions talks with Turkey, saying the country should no longer receive payments from the EU budget as part of pre-accession support.
Turkey has voiced discontent with the United States' decision to provide International Military Education and Training (IMET) to Greek Cypriot soldiers in accordance with the 2020 fiscal year appropriations act. "This and similar steps do not contribute to the efforts towards the settlement of the Cyprus issue, but on the contrary, lead to strengthening the intransigent attitude of the Greek Cypriot side," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
A recent simulation by Istanbul Municipality revealed the southern suburbs of the city to be the highest-risk areas in a potential earthquake. While the suburbs are located on both sides of the city, they're all placed alongside the southern Marmara Sea shoreline.
The Istanbul Convention, an international initiative that aims to combat domestic violence against women, has led to fractures within the ruling AKP as one of the party's lawmakers has said that she is puzzled why the convention has come under attack after so many years. AKP MP Canan Kalsın asked why the convention turned into a “scapegoat” nine years after it was signed in Istanbul.
Attending a demonstration can't be a proof of terrorist organization membership, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in the case of four applicants from Turkey. The applicants faced the said accusation for attending a demonstration in 2008, with the ECHR saying that their rights to freedom of assembly were violated.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to carry out a cabinet reshuffle and rearrange ministries. Erdoğan might part ways with three to four ministers, sources told Duvar, adding that two ministries, including the Family and Social Services Ministry, might be divided into two.
The police force of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) early on July 9 shot two Syrian refugees for attempting to run away after arriving at a beach on a boat. The TRNC police said that refugees continued to run away despite warning shots, and eventually they opened fire on them, injuring two.
A tender for hunting mountain goats in eastern Dersim was scheduled despite public outcry against it. Endemic to the Munzur Valley National Park, mountain goats are considered sacred among locals.
A parliamentary commission revealed that some 462 children in Turkey died under suspicious conditions in 2019. Police data showed that 21 children's deaths were suicides and 29 were the result of poisoning.
Four U.S. senators have penned a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper saying that Turkey's expulsion from the F-35 supply chain needs to be expedited, regardless of what the cost is. They said that the Defense Department's delay regarding the matter “has undermined the effectiveness of our clear message to the Turks.”
Turkey tested Russian-made S-400 air defense systems on U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets in November 2019, a source close to the Turkish defense industry told TASS on July 7. "Yes, such trials have indeed taken place last November," the source told TASS when asked to comment on several media reports.
The main opposition CHP’s proposal calling for an investigation into last week's deadly explosion at a Sakarya fireworks factory has been rejected by the votes of the AKP and MHP lawmakers.
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the country will soon start mass production of favipiravir, a drug used in COVID-19 treatment, as the licensing process is expected to be completed in a couple of days. Koca said that the country will sell it on the international market and also use it to treat its own coronaviurus patients.
Economy
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said that Turkey was an exception to the global financial crisis emerging in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The minister said that Turkey has been outperforming other countries in "all measures of economic success."
Foreign investment in Istanbul's stock exchange fell below 50 percent for the first time since 2004, daily Sözcü reported. Almost four billion dollars have reportedly been sold out of the exchange in the first six months of 2020.
Turkey's foreign trade deficit doubled between January and May as exports fell by 20 percent. The monthly trade deficit also doubled in May, surpassing $3 billion.
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.
Urban Beat
Fossils discovered by a nature enthusiast in mountainous eastern province of Iğdır revealed that the area, now completely landlocked, used to be a shore and underwater. The fossils contained palm leaves, which grow in hot areas by the water.
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.
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.