Politics
Turkey's main opposition CHP has said that June 22 will go down in history as a "pitch-dark" one for Turkish democracy and judiciary after sixty bar association heads were not let in Ankara to complete their Defense March. Police officers were on caught camera battering and dragging some of the senior lawyers during a scuffle.
Bilingual Kurdish-Turkish pedestrian crossing signs in the southeastern province of Batman have been replaced with monolingual signs in Turkish by a government-appointed trustee. Ousted HDP co-mayors slammed this move saying the trustee's "animosity towards Kurdish" has been continuing.
Istanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court on June 22 imposed a publication ban on the trial into the summoning of Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) chief Hakan Fidan to testify by the followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen on Feb. 7, 2012. The testimonies in the case were expected to reveal significant information regarding Turkey's recent history.
A Turkish court has blocked access to forum pages on First Lady Emine Erdoğan's Hermes handbag that created controversy in the country due to its high price. Another topic that the court blocked was on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son Bilal Erdoğan being confused during a telephone call that was leaked in 2013.
Bar associations in Turkey have said that their march to the capital Ankara is being carried out "against darkness," adding their aim is for the draft bill on changing bars' election systems to be withdrawn. "We are not in darkness, but against it. We're marching against darkness. We hope that our efforts yield results. This country needs bright days and we hope that we'll see them together," Van bar head said.
Turkey's ruling AKP has announced that it will nominate incumbent Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop for the post for another term. Şentop on June 19 told reporters his candidacy had “became definite." The AKP's announcement came a day after Binali Yıldırım dismissed rumors that he would run as a candidate in the election.
The pro-Kurdish HDP has said that the government's "fascist acts" will not stop the party's Democracy March. “You will not be able to stop the HDP's march in any way, under no circumstances. We are the assurance of peace, democracy and freedoms in this country," HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said on June 19, as the party's convoy stopped at Istanbul's Sultanbeyli district.
The father of NBA center Enes Kanter, a staunch follower of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, has been acquitted of charges that he was a member of the Gülen movement. Mehmet Kanter, the father and a genetics professor in Turkey, was alleged to have supported the Gülenists, the group widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has ruled that the former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's lengthy imprisonment breaches the Constitution as it exceeds the "reasonable duration." Lawyers however have said that Demirtaş will not be released as another case against him keeps the former HDP co-chair imprisoned.
Binali Yıldırım, who resigned from the office of parliamentary speaker in February 2019 to run as the ruling AKP’s candidate in the Istanbul mayoral race, has announced that he is not planning to return to his old post.
Kurdish issue-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has said that its Democracy March is a call to all powers seeking freedom. "This great will and belief will definitely reach its aim. We saw this great power everywhere," HDK co-spokesperson Sedat Şenoğlu said upon the march's arrival at the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
The ruling AKP has announced that it ended its "green dot" social media campaign. The move came after the trend quickly turned into a wave of threats targeting female journalists and politicians.
The ruling AKP is considering to open Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia museum to prayers on July 15, if the Council of State rules in its favor, Habertürk reported. The decision was reportedly taken after surveys showed the public's support in this regard.
DEVA, one of Turkey's newest opposition parties, has said that the government is trampling on the HDP's constitutional rights by attempting to prevent its Democracy March from taking place. “According to the Constitutional Court laws, it is not possible for a demonstration march to be banned just because the opinions and ideas it favors is not embraced by the majority or the ruling party or leads to a discomfort in them,” DEVA's Mustafa Yeneroğlu said in a written statement on June 16.
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Pervin Buldan has deemed stripping deputies of their parliamentary statuses and sacking mayors from the HDP "a political coup." "This country has been struggling against coups for many years. Millions have stood against the coups. However, what the AKP does is a political coup. It's seizing people's wills," Buldan said.
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.