World
An American oil company has signed a deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to develop and modernize existing oil fields in northeastern Syria, Al-Monitor reported on July 30. The deal was made “with the acknowledgement and encouragement of the White House," sources told Al-Monitor.
Richard Moore, who served as British ambassador to Turkey from January 2014 to December 2017, has been named as the next chief of MI6. A fluent Turkish speaker, he studied at Oxford and first joined MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, in 1987.
German regional authorities have started to contact German citizens of Turkish origin and ask them whether they acquired a second citizenship after 2000, daily Hürriyet said on July 16. Germany's post-2000 law made it possible for the country to withdraw German citizenship from those who had taken up another citizenship following their naturalization in Germany.
Azerbaijan and Armenia accused each other of shelling military positions and villages on July 16, breaking a day of ceasefire in border clashes between the two former Soviet republics. Turkey's Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, slammed "Armenia's attacks on Azerbaijan and the smear campaign against Turkey."
A Turkish man has been sentenced to 25 years in jail in France for killing his wife, with whom he was going through a divorce. The 39-year-old man said in his defense that he committed the murder "out of love," French media said.
The entry of nine Turkish entrepreneurs into breakaway Northern Cyprus without being placed under 14-day quarantine has angered the locals. The incident also led to a crisis in the coalition government of the UBP and HP with the latter demanding that ministers responsible from the incident resign.
Representatives of the Kurdish National Council (ENKS) and a PYD-led coalition of Kurdish parties have reached a breakthrough agreement on a "common political vision" following a series of US-backed talks.
Adem Somyürek, who was serving as a minister in the Victoria government of Australia, has been sacked from his cabinet following allegations that he used thousands in cash and parliamentary employees to create fake branch members for his party.
An Azeri young activist has protested the arbitrary police detentions in his country by climbing onto the roof of his house and playing legendary Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya's “Başkaldırıyorum” song, which translates as “I revolt.”
A Swiss court blocked the extradition to Germany of an alleged PKK regional leader, ruling that German authorities had not made enough of a case against the man whose group is not banned in Switzerland. The man, a Turkish citizen whose identity was not revealed in the Federal Criminal Court verdict, had fought extradition since his arrest at Zurich airport last November on an international warrant.
Russia has confirmed the delivery of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Syria in "two batches" which commenced combat duty on June 1. “Syrian Arab Army received the second batch of advanced MiG-29 fighter jets from #Russia - in the framework of military & technical cooperation between our countries,” the Russian Embassy in Syria said on June 3.
The Russian Defense Ministry has sent military cargo to Syria through the Bosphorus, maritime and aviation expert and Duvar English contributor Yörük Işık said on Twitter. Russian forces in Syria have relying on the Bosphorus as a major supply route between their home ports in the Black Sea and their base in Tartus.
KRG President Nechirvan Barzani and Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met on May 30 with Maj. Gen. Eric Hill, commander of Coalition's Special Operations Forces to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Hill pointed out that the KRG is an important partner of the United States and Coalition Forces in the fight against ISIS.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the May 27 police killing of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd in a series of tweets. The president said the mentality that killed Floyd was "racist and fascist" and condemned the "inhumane mentality." Turkey has been experiencing a period of increased police violence since the 2013 anti-government Gezi protests when more than 20 people were killed.
Slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's sons said on May 22 that they have forgiven those who murdered their father, prompting criticism from Hatice Cengiz, the journalist's fiancee. "His ambush and heinous murder does not have a statute of limitations and no one has the right to pardon his killers. I and others will not stop until we get #JusticeForJamal," Cengiz said.
Editor's Pick
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
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.
Dozens of celebrities all over the world, including Ellie Goulding, Christina Aguilera, Milla Jovovich and many more, have posted black and white pictures of themselves to voice solidarity with victims of femicides in Turkey. The trend began after women in Turkey said that they don't want to see their pictures in black and white in newspapers after they are killed.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield and his family visited Hagia Sophia to see the restoration works carried out at the site after its conversion into a mosque. "Ambassador Satterfield toured Hagia Sophia to admire its grandeur and technical genius, and better understand the renovation and restoration work to be completed to preserve the universal value of and continued access to this monumental building," the embassy said on July 30.
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.