Domestic
Turkey's ruling AKP has submitted a legislation proposal to the parliament which seeks to expand the scope of the security investigations launched into candidates for state employee positions to include students in higher education. The opposition has blasted the proposal as a means of the state getting rid of candidates that it deems problematic from the start.
President Erdoğan on June 26 addressed students via livestream videconference -- ahead of this weekend’s university entrance exam. A newly emerged video shows Erdoğan not being happy with the way his jacket looks on him ahead of the livestream, as he does not want to have his "belly" out in the open.
Former military judge Ahmet Zeki Üçok has been handed a six-month suspended prison sentence on charges of "insulting" Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who was the chief of staff during the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. Üçok had said that Akar needed to "stand trial" for negligence in the coup attempt.
The ruling AKP's nationalist ally MHP has said that a change in laws pertaining to elections and political parties is "must" and the legal work regarding this amendment has been already launched. The AKP-MHP plan is expected to make it more difficult for members of parliament to join newly formed opposition parties, mainly DEVA and Future Party.
AKP Group Deputy Chair Özlem Zengin has said that "women had no name" before the AKP came to power, prompting surprise among the opposition. "Women had no name in this country until the AKP came to power. Women built the AKP and that's why we, as the women and men in the party and our President, try to make life easier for women with the works that we carry out," Zengin said in parliament.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has said that the calls on the party to distance itself from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are "unfounded" because the party "has no links" to the militant group. "The issue is not distancing ourselves because we have no relations and there won't be," Sancar said, while asking, "So if the HDP is an extension of the PKK, six million people voted for the PKK. Will you accept that?"
CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel submitted two written parliamentary questions to Vice President Fuat Oktay on the donations collected as part of a coronavirus campaign, asking the total amount and where they were spent. Surprisingly, Oktay referred the question to the Family and Social Policies Ministry, even though the whole campaign was carried out by Erdoğan himself.
Journalist Ender İmrek appeared in court on June 24 in the case that he is accused of "insulting" First Lady Emine Erdoğan "by not attributing nice qualities to her" in a piece that he criticized her for using a Hermes handbag worth $50,000. "This is a crime that doesn't exist. According to the indictment, not praising Emine Erdoğan is equal to insulting her," İmrek told the court.
Lawyers of former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş have filed for their client's release, citing a recent Constitutional Court ruling. "We ask you to end his imprisonment that violates his rights to freedom an security," the lawyers said.
The Istanbul Regional Courts of Justice has upheld the nine-year prison sentence handed to CHP's Istanbul chair Kaftancıoğlu. Kaftancıoğlu was last year sentenced to prison for old tweets that allegedly "spread terrorist propaganda and insult the President." The CHP says the conviction is politically motivated.
CHP Istanbul deputy Erdoğan Toprak said that MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's remarks on the next elections bring election fraud to mind. Bahçeli on June 19 said that elections will be held as scheduled in 2023, while also using a Turkish proverb that roughly translates as fooling the devil.
Opposition İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener has slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's financial policies, accusing him of personally being responsible for the worst decade of Turkish unemployment in the country's history. The opposition leader also criticized the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) for narrowly defining unemployment, only to count individuals who made job applications in the last four weeks.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has urged the release of former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, citing four court rulings into him. "Demirtaş is a politician for whom release rulings were issued four times and who was jailed despite them," he said, while deeming the practice "unjust and unlawful." "What's the reason for why the release rulings are not applied?" he asked.
The Albayrak and Erdoğan families share similarly modest lifestyles, said Finance Minister Berat Albayrak's father Sadık in an interview with the Hürriyet daily over the weekend.
The pro-Kurdish HDP has referred its Doğubeyazıt co-mayors to the party disciplinary committee to probe people's complaints against them. The party said that once the disciplinary process is completed, it will share the details and results with the public.
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.