Politics
Istanbul is too important to be left to the hands of local authorities, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, amid an ongoing war of words between the President and the city's Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. "We won't allow the blocking of the beneficial projects that we are trying to bring to life when we support every beneficial work carried out in Istanbul," Erdoğan said.
Rahşan Ecevit, wife of late Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, died at the age of 97 at a hospital in the capital Ankara on Jan. 17. She was the founder and first leader of Turkey's Democratic Left Party (DSP).
Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu has shed light on the content of a letter he recently gave to President Erdoğan, saying it warned him against people who are attempting to “damage” the relations between the central government and municipality. İmamoğlu also said that his letter included a demand to meet Erdoğan in person to explain the municipality's stance regarding the controversial Kanal Istanbul project.
President Erdoğan complained of not receiving enough applause as he was making a speech at the Presidential Complex on Jan. 16. Not finding the audience's enthusiasm adequate, Erdoğan said: “Applauses are not coming.”
Former Lt. Gen. Metin İyidil was arrested on Jan. 16 two days after he was acquitted and released from prison. "All of my activities on the night of the coup were aimed at preventing the coup," İyidil told the court on Jan. 16, adding that he served the state for 44 years. Three people were detained on Jan. 16 over attempting to help İyidil escape, including TFF Chair Nihat Özdemir's son Batuhan Özdemir.
Turkey's Council of State and Court of Appeals will be holding elections to replace five members and the Chairman of the Supreme Election Council (YSK). While the election will be held Jan.17, new members will not be reporting to their posts until a week later. The Supreme Election Council's new members will then elect a new Chairman.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party MP Semra Güzel presented a parliamentary question to the Health Ministry over its lack of Kurdish-language services on its hotline.
Former striker Hakan Şükür, a staunch supporter of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, has started to sells books and drive for Uber to make a living. "I have nothing," Şükür said, as he accused President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of "taking everything away from him." "I may be an enemy of this government, but not of the state or the Turkish nation. I love my country.," he added.
Cult actor Kadir İnanır responded to criticism from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu about his attendance at a theater adaptation of a book by Selahattin Demirtaş, jailed former co-chair of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), saying that he watched the play to "promote peace." "The issue is promoting peace. We were there for peace," İnanır said.
HDP's Istanbul office became the target of an armed attack on Jan. 15 with an unknown assailant firing his gun in the air seven times. No one was hurt in the incident. "Our party was subjected to similar attacks in the past through gangs. Our party, administrators and people are being tried to be intimidated," HDP Istanbul branch said in a written statement.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said that the municipality found loans to continue the construction of three metro lines that have been inactive for two years, but can't do so because they can't get approval from the Treasury. "I'm calling on the President to put all the paused metro lines to use before the end of 2022-2023. Are these lines mine? Are they Erdoğan's? No, they belong to the people," he said.
A court has ruled to keep former Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-chair Sebahat Tuncel and former co-mayor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır Gültan Kışanak in jail. Lawyers of Kışanak and Tuncel said that their clients are politicians and their political acts can't be accepted as PKK membership or propaganda, while also demanding their release.
CHP deputy chair Aykut Erdoğdu said that Erdoğan and the AKP are about to fall from power, while urging "everyone to make preparations accordingly. "Let me say something to those trusting them [AKP and Erdoğan] This guy and his team are about to be gone. There is no way that he will stay in power. The entire business, bureaucracy and judicial world should make plans accordingly," he said.
Interior Minister Soylu got a nosebleed on live television reportedly because of the cold he was exposed to on Jan. 12 in Kastamonu, where, in a speech, he slammed a play based on former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's book. Soylu said that Demirtaş was responsible for the violent protests of Oct. 6-8, 2014 that resulted in the deaths of over 30 people. "You can't wash the blood off your hands with theater," he said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has carried out two unannounced visits to Islamist İsmailağa community leaders late on Jan. 12. Pictures from his visit were shared by one of the members of the group, prompting criticism on social media over the government's relations with Islamic cults in Turkey.
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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
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.
The area in the Hagia Sophia where emperors used to be coronated was left exposed when carpeting was installed in the structure to prepare it for Muslim prayer, Istanbul Culture and Tourism Director Coşkun Yılmaz said. The former museum was opened to Muslim worship on July 24, holding the first mass prayer in decades.
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.