Corona
The neighborhood head (muhtar) of the eastern village of İçmeler blocked off the entrance, and hung up a banner that reads "Entrances to the village are banned because of corona!" The muhtar also takes visitors' temperatures and only allows residents to enter.
Turkish Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said late on April 29 that schools might reopen on June 1 if normalization from the coronavirus pandemic goes as planned. Earlier in the day, he had announced that that the country extended remote education until May 31.
President Erdoğan's spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that it's not possible to state when the measures imposed against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will be lifted. Kalın's statements are in contrast with the remarks of Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik, who said that gradual normalization may begin after Eid al-Fitr, which ends on May 26.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has responded to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's accusations on CHP municipalities acting similar to "terrorist organizations," saying that they keep their silence for the good of the people. "For now, we're hearing the harsh accusations coming behind us, but keep going without saying anything. We don't have time to lose with the people shouting behind us. We keep running forward for the people," İmamoğlu said.
CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak has slammed the government over sending coronavirus aid to a number of countries when Turkish people can't get masks. "They couldn't distribute five masks to people in the past month, but they sent planes full of masks to Britain, Spain and Italy to show off," Öztrak said, referring to the government's decision to distribute five masks free of charge to each citizen once in every 10 days.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on April 19 that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases have risen to 86,306, surpassing the official figures announced by China and making the country with the seventh-highest total in the world. Koca said 127 more people have died, taking the death toll to 2,017.
The Turkish Medical Association has reiterated its call to the Health Ministry on using the appropriate World Health Organization (WHO) codes when reporting coronavirus (COVID-19) deaths, saying that the numbers revealed daily by Health Minister Fahrettin Koca are based on PCR tests and exclude people whose tests are negative, but who are suspected to have been infected with the virus based on clinical and epidemiological findings.
The Adana Provincial Health Directorate has sealed a field hospital constructed by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) off over "not being sanitary." According to the directorate, a license application was not filed by the municipality before its construction.
Prof. Alpay Azap from the Health Ministry's Science Commission has criticized Prof. Ercüment Ovalı's announcement on having found a cure for the coronavirus. "These types of announcements made in excitement cause people to have the feelings of trust and hope that are unnecessary and have no basis. I'm personally concerned about the emergence of disappointment and despair in the following process," Azap said.
İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener has urged members of the Science Commission to resign from their duties if their suggestions in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic are not implemented by the ruling AKP. "The suggestions of the Science Commission depend on the Erdoğan. We know that the commission asked for a full quarantine. It should have been implemented, but Erdoğan rejected it," Akşener said in an interview.
The Turkish Medical Association has claimed that the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the country is higher than the official figures, saying that the Health Ministry doesn't convey the numbers to the World Health Organization (WHO) using the appropriate codes, causing the death toll to seem lesser than it actually is. WHO, meanwhile, said that it's alarmed about the "dramatic increase" in coronavirus spread in Turkey.
Turkish Medical Association head Prof. Sinan Adıyaman has said that they expect the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to last for a total of 11 weeks from its beginning until it wanes, adding that there is lack of information on the issue. This is the first time humanity encounters a coronavirus pandemic, so they can't exactly predict how the process will go," Adıyaman said.
Healthcare professionals at a hospital in the western province of İzmir celebrated when a 95-year-old man recovered from coronavirus (COVID-19) was discharged from the hospital.
Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop announced the cancellation of April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day celebrations over the coronavirus pandemic that killed over 600 people in the country. "We had to postpone the celebrations that people would gather on April 23. Let's sing the national anthem at 9 p.m. on April 23 in our homes," Şentop said on April 6.
A total of 58.5 dollars was reportedly cut from the personal accounts of a number of Turkish teachers after using Zoom upon the request of their school managers. School managers and administrators obliged teachers to use Zoom, since 100 people can attend an online meeting at the same time free of charge, to continue classes online, daily Sözcü reported on April 6. Turkey's Education Ministry released a statement, saying that they have been warning teachers, students and administrators against cyber attacks.
Editor's Pick
Selahattin Demirtaş writes: You have re-arrested us after six years. You say we are the instigators of the Kobane massacres when we were actually the victims. Do you think you will be able to make us responsible for this through conspiracies based on secret witnesses and be saved from responsibility? You must genuinely believe that the fascism you rely on today will always exist.
Politics
A local court in southern Turkey acquitted Birol K. of charges related to his sexual abuse of an underage relative, as well as holding her against her will. The court's ruling came despite eyewitnesses, forensic proof of the abuse and the man's death threats against the survivor.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca slammed Istanbulites' Sunday outing on İstiklal Avenue on Oct. 18, saying that anyone who entered the crowd healthy would come out ill. Meanwhile, some 1,815 COVID-19 diagnoses were made on Oct. 18, while some 72 patients died.
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
A committee of main opposition CHP politicians said that the construction of a visitors' center on southeast Turkey's iconic Mount Nemrut was a betrayal to nature. The CHP committee noted that the site was pending assignment as a UNESCO geopark and that the construction was putting it in jeopardy.
The NATO has criticized a possible test by Turkey of its Russian-made S-400 missile launcher and stepped up calls on Ankara to opt for a different defense system. “Any test of the S-400 air defense system by Turkey, if confirmed, would be regrettable. It is important Turkey continues to work with other allies to find alternative solutions," it said in a statement.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu sent congratulatory messages to HDP co-chairs Mithat Sancar and Pervin Buldan on the party's eighth foundation anniversary. "I underline once again that we will never give up on building peace and fraternity," İmamoğlu said.
Five health workers have died of COVID-19 in just one day, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said on Oct. 18, as it criticized the government for not being able to manage the pandemic properly. The names of the health workers were revealed as Dr. Salih Kanlı, Dr. Turan Yıldırım, Ferhat Gencer, Harun Dönmez and Yasemin Çolak. The number of health workers who died of COVID-19 in the past eight days rose to 13.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has cancelled his planned visit to Turkey after Ankara said it was restarting operations of a survey ship that it withdrew last month. Maas said that Ankara's renewed push "severely damaged" the atmosphere of trust and said that Turkey can't have any interest in the long-term continuation of the conflicts that it's involved in.
Denizli Governor Ali Fuat Atik has prompted fury for ordering a restaurant to be closed because a waiter working there didn't recognize him. Following criticism on social media, Atik apologized, saying that he was saddened by his approach to the man. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also commented on the incident, saying that he found it appropriate for the governor to apologize.
Some 2,500 academics worldwide, including famed international scholars Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Silvia Federici, Etienne Balibar and Enzo Traverso, have signed a petition for Turkey to release Cihan Erdal, a PhD candidate and researcher at Carleton University in Canada and an LGBT activist, who was detained in Istanbul on Sept. 25.
A show owner in Denizli has told the governor of the province that he wants to die because of the worsening economy when asked why he was not wearing a mask. "I've had enough. I want to die. Look at the economy. I gained 15 liras on Tuesday and 100 liras on Wednesday. What use does it have even if that 100 liras is all profit?" the shop owner said.
In the government's latest attempt to criminalize the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), summary of proceedings have been prepared against 18 of its deputies, bringing charges against them for attending demonstrations and for making statements including the word "Kurdistan."
Osman Kavala remains behind bars as one of Turkey's most high-profile political prisoners, while President Erdoğan appointed the prosecutor who prepared Kavala's indictment to the post of Deputy Justice Minister. The appointment came within seven days of the indictment's preparation, and removed the prior appointee by presidential decree.
Hale Gönültaş reports: Turkey's financial crimes unit has determined that Afghan criminals engaged in drug smuggling and in the funding of terror operations are exploiting Afghan refugees in Turkey via bank transfers. As migrants are unable to transport large sums of money and often cannot open bank accounts in Turkey, they rely on moneychangers who transfer cash for a fee, and this is usually the only option.
Health Ministry failed to deliver an Oct. 15 data release that was designed to offset the repercussions of the revelation that Ankara's official COVID-19 numbers had been excluding asymptomatic patients. The ministry said that Fahrettin Koca's promise to release all data starting on Oct. 15 had been "misunderstood," and that they would only share certain numbers with the WHO.
Former President Abdullah Gül said that he was "appalled" by the attacks on Turkey's Constitutional Court, the most recent of which accused a member of threatening a military coup. The coup debate closely followed discussions on overhauling the Constitutional Court, which many members of the governing bloc in Ankara voiced support for.
Economy
President Erdoğan on Oct. 17 announced the discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Black Sea, following a similar find in August. As a result of testing, analysis and detailed engineering work, another 85 billion cubic meters were added to the reserves we had discovered. The total amount of natural gas reserves in the TUNA-1 well of the Sakarya Gas Field reached 405 billion cubic meters," Erdoğan said.
Turkish exporters are struggling with shrinking markets as Morocco appears to have joined the countries that are effectively boycotting all products made in Turkey. Sources from the Moroccan Ministry of Trade indicate that measures have been put in place to prevent unfair competition from Turkish textile producers who are dominating the local market.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed a dip in real estate sales vis-a-vis last year in September, dropping by 6.9 percent for some 136,744 residences sold. Meanwhile, the total volume of sales between January and September was larger than the number in 2019.
Urban Beat
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.
The 39th Istanbul Film Festival will offer viewings both online and in-person, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) noted. While tickets will become available on Oct. 2, showings will start a week later and last for 10 days.