Border
A lawyer from Van Bar Association Migration and Asylum Commission said that the death toll in the migrant boat accident in Lake Van is unknown. "Unfortunately we don't have enough information about the boat that sank in Van Lake over the weekend. The Van Bar Association hasn't received a public defender request for the boat yet."
Turkey's Trade Ministry will be allowing freight drivers to work again, except to travel to Iran and Iraq. More than 1,000 truckers are stranded at Turkey's Iranian border since the country closed the gates in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Nuray Pehlivan reports: Thousands of migrants who remain at Turkey’s borders in hopes of crossing over to Europe are now being told to leave the area due to the coronavirus pandemic. Ankara’s recent instructions about the coronavirus directly contradict their Feb. 28 decision that allowed migrants crossings, leaving them once again in limbo.
Turkey's land borders with Greece and Bulgaria will be closed to entry and exit of passengers as a measure against the coronavirus outbreak. The restrictions will be effective from 12.01 a.m. local time on March 19, the Interior Ministry said.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned the Greek ambassador to Ankara, who was told that Greece must stop "violations of Turkish waters and the detention of journalists," state-run Anadolu Agency said. The journalists were reporting on the humanitarian situation of migrants in Lesbos and Rhodes islands, Anadolu Agency said, without elaborating.
Turkish and Greek academics both agree that Turkey, Greece and the European Union as a whole failed to fully abide by the 2016 migrant deal. While Greek academic Konstantinos Tsitselikes said the number of people who crossed into Europe was is closer to 1,000 rather than the 140,000 claimed by Ankara, Turkish academic Murat Erdoğan says the EU's refusal to accept the migrants is justified.
HDP lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said the chair of the parliament's Immigration and Integration Sub-Committee, Hakan Çavuşoğlu, prevented its members from interacting with the migrants whilst visiting the Pazarkule Border Gate on the Greek border. "He acted as if we were there on an excursion. We went to talk to people but were pressured to rush and make a statement to the press," he said.
The European Parliament's former Turkey rapporteur, Kati Piri, has said in a statement on Twitter that the European Union failed to uphold its end of the 2016 migrant deal with Turkey after several EU countries have criticized Ankara's recent move to ease border restrictions.
Police are the first to give migrants bad news in Edirne where they've arrived in hopes of crossing over to Greece. "You can't cross," police say before advising migrants to go to Doyran Village where they can cross the river easily, adding that this is a better way to enter Europe. Meanwhile, a human trafficker sits down to negotiate and bargain with migrants in the encampment next to the police. He boasts that he transports migrants to the Greek side safely, accompanied by soldiers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has refused to attend a trilateral summit with Greece and Bulgaria to discuss the recent migrant crisis after reports of migrants having been killed on the Greek border surfaced.
Greek police batter refugees who manage to cross the border at the Pazarkule Border Gate in the Thracian province of Edirne, Istanbul Bar Association's Human Rights Center said March 1 in a report about the camp area at the border. Some 200 to 300 migrants "were beaten up with thick sticks, and that their money and mobile phones were seized by Greek police," the report said.
While many migrants have left Istanbul for the Greek border near Edirne, rampage erupted among dozens who attempted to get on a bus in the transportation hub of Kazlıçeşme. Migrants waiting at an Edirne border gate were the target of a gas canister. Other migrants made it to the Greek island of Lesbos by sea.
Greece and Bulgaria have signaled heightened border control as Ankara declared it would no longer prevent migrants from passing over to Europe. While police troops have already been deployed to the Kastanies border in northeastern Greece, Bulgaria said it was poised to deploy 1,000 troops to its Turkish border.
Turkey's border security officials have closed off the Pazarkule Border Gate to Greece on the grounds that some 100 migrants had crossed into the buffer zone illegally, even though Ankara declared on Feb. 27 that it would no longer prevent migrants to cross over to Europe.
Flocks of migrants have begun to move towards the Turkey-Greece border after Ankara decided to lift border crossings in anticipation of a new migration wave from Syria. This follows the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers by the Syrian regime in Idlib on Feb. 27.
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
Former MHP deputy Cemal Enginyurt has said it was him who started the legal process that led to the cancellation of a dissident-led congress back in 2016 aiming to challenge the leadership of Devlet Bahçeli. “When Meral Akşener won the congress with 715 votes on June 19, it was me who took the case to the court. It was me that led to the cancellation of the congress, which they had won," Enginyurt said on Aug. 5.
Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener has said that the majority of the Turkish people want to return to a parliamentary system, adding that the current "freakish" system can't govern the country. "Turkey's economy has worsened, the youth doesn't have hope to find jobs, agriculture and industry have collapsed. The people are suffering from not being able to find food and fear being unemployed," she said.
Twitter has announced that it is introducing a new label for government officials and state-backed media organisations to help users make informed decisions. The labels will initially be added to officials representing the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, China, France, the UK, and the US, the company said.
Turkish women did four times as much household and care work as men during lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), research supported by the United Nations Development Programme showed on Aug. 6. The gender gap in paid work narrowed under lockdown as a result of changes in work patterns and a fall in men's paid work hours, the research found.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said that "a secret organization within the state brings its agenda into action step by step via planned operations." "We need to state what has been going on in the country properly. The constitutional order is being changed and an authoritarian regime is being constructed. This is not carried out through open political methods only," Demirtaş said.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry has declared a document circulating on social media claiming that a curfew would be imposed this weekend as fake news. Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı on Aug. 6 urged the people not to be misled by such “fake documents whose origins are unknown.”
The governor's office in the eastern province of Van has said that a video that purported to show final moments of migrants doesn't belong to the Lake Van tragedy. It also said that they contacted an Afghan national believed to be the person who owned the video, who reportedly told the office that he received the video from someone else.
Only 25 percent of the Turkish public has trust in the presidency, according to a recent poll from the ArtıBir research company. Some 17.3 percent of those polled said that they did not have trust in any of the country's institutions, while the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was the most trusted institution with the confidence of 38.2 percent of those responding to the poll.
Individuals close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were appointed to vacated posts in the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK). According to Mustafa Mutlu Pekergin, a member of the supervisory board of the THK Köyceğiz branch, the appointments are unlawful.
Thousands of Turkish women on Aug. 5 held protests across the country to demand that the ruling AKP does not withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. During the protest in İzmir, police battered and detained several of the women. As some of the protesters resisted being detained, one of the police commanders was heard instructing his colleagues to “break their arms” should they defy the police.
Osman Özçalımlı, a Turkish soldier of Kurdish origin, was found dead while doing his compulsory military service in Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir last week. In the face of authorities' contradictory statements, coupled with their son’s statement of having been threatened the day before, the family are now demanding to know what really happened.
Turkey's daily COVID-19 cases have shown a sharp rebounding trend, with more than 1,000 daily jump in successive days. “We need to prevent the risk in the Eid al-Adha and holiday from causing new consequences. We need unity in precautions," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter.
Turkish President Erdoğan has ordered the country’s education watchdog YÖK to shut down the universities' distance education programs for psychology studies. The move came after Istanbul University’s plan to launch such a program received widespread criticism among psychologists.
Six members of the left-wing Turkish popular folk band Grup Yorum were detained on Aug. 5 while performing at a concert rehearsal in Istanbul's Beykoz. The İdil Culture Center, which is run by the group, was also raided by the police.
The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has slammed prison conditions in Turkey, urging authorities to take "decisive action" against ill-treatment of police. The problem of prison overcrowding remained acute, the CPT said, and the steady increase in the size of the prison population already observed in the mid-2000s continued.
Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank has used the deadly explosion in Beirut to advocate the construction of the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, which seeks to carve out an artificial shipping canal on the outskirts of the European side of Istanbul in order to alleviate traffic from the Bosphorus Strait.
Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) is among those searching for survivors in Beirut after a massive blast in the city killed over 100 people and injured nearly 4,000, and Ankara has offered to build a field hospital and help as needed. "We are providing assistance with one ambulance to transfer patients. We may provide help according to the needs of the hospital," an İHH official said.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has said that number of daily coronavirus infections in Ankara alone amount to approximately 1,000, thereby disputing the official figures which put the daily nationwide tally at around this level. The TTB's statement came as Ankara provincial directorate of health on Aug. 4 ordered all hospitals in the city to allocate at least half of their beds for the use of COVID-19 patients.
Villagers in the Mehmetdede Tekke village in the central Anatolian province of Çorum have protested the mine drilling project on the grounds that it will hurt local agricultural production and reduce the amount of land used for agricultural purposes.
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.