Politics
The HDP has officially nominated Istanbul lawmaker Erol Katırcıoğlu as parliament speaker, becoming the first party to notify its candidate's name to the parliamentary speaker's office. In June, the ruling AKP had announced that it would nominate incumbent Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop for the post for another term, whereas on July 1 the main opposition CHP said that it would nominate Haluk Koç.
Turkey's AKP government does not rule out the possibility of withdrawing from Istanbul Convention, an international initiative which was first approved by Ankara in 2012 and aims to combat domestic violence against women. "When our people has such an expectation, we cannot stay indifferent to this. As we have duly signed it, then it would be possible to duly withdraw from it," AKP deputy chair Numan Kurtulmuş said on July 2.
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.
Turkey's opposition leaders have responded to President Erdoğan's threat to shut down "YouTube, Twitter and Netflix" with humorous posts. “I would be really hurt if you shut down Netflix without me watching the last season of Dark, Mr. Erdoğan,” İYİ Party chair Akşener wrote on Twitter, while HDP co-chair Buldan said: "We were waiting for the last season of La Casa De Papel."
The Parliamentary Justice Commission has declined seven bar association presidents' demand to be included in discussions over a draft bill seeking to change the election system of bars' administrations and open the way to the establishment of alternative associations in each province. “They do not even want us there while the draft bill, which was prepared without even our opinions being consulted, is being discussed,” Kocaeli Bar Association President Bahar Gültekin said.
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.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that he seeks to shut social media platforms in Turkey, a day after his daughter Esra Albayrak was insulted on Twitter. "Such platforms don't suit this country and our people. That's why we want these social media platforms completely shut or controlled after bringing the issue to our parliament," he told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The government has officially halted the activities of Istanbul's Şehir University, founded by former PM Ahmet Davutoğlu, in a decision that was published in the Official Gazette on June 30. Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) announced on the same day that the university's students will be transferred to another Istanbul university, Marmara.
Political communications experts believe that Turkey's Generation Z will be a hard demographic for candidates to win over in the 2023 general elections. One expert has told daily Hürriyet that members of this age group are either indifferent to the current political players, or simply not interested in politics.
President Erdoğan has said that his ruling AKP government's bill which aims to decentralize bar associations will be submitted to the Parliament on June 30. Meanwhile, the İzmir Bar Association lawyers on June 29 attempted to stage a protest march defying the government's legislation; however, the police prevented them from doing so, placing barricades in front of the bar association's building.
MHP Vice Chairman Semih Yalçın has called on newly established Future and DEVA parties to join the People's Alliance. Claiming that these two AKP breakaway parties do not have a future in Turkish politics, Yalçın said: “The People's Alliance will grow in time and will dominate all harbors of politics, staying permanent."
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's wife Başak Demirtaş has slammed the Turkish authorities for refusing to let the renowned politician to stand trial without arrest. A ruling issued by the prosecutors said that Demirtaş was a "flight risk" and evidence against him could not have been still gathered -- despite him being in jail for over three years now.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was forced to hide comments during a live broadcast after pouring criticisms from students, with the video receiving over 368,000 dislikes on YouTube. The criticisms stemmed from the government's decision to bring forward nationwide university admission exams to an earlier date in late June than scheduled, which prompted outrage among students.
Former president Abdullah Gül said that Turkey urgently needs to get out of the atmosphere that supports the logic of a party-state, adding that Turkish economy is "still standing" thanks to the structural transformation in the first five years of the AKP. He noted that policies that overlap with the people's wills and that generate solutions, happiness and welfare need to be put forward.
Murat Yetkin writes: Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu says that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is under the tutelage of his election ally Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) because he cannot make any decisions without Bahçeli’s approval.
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.