coronavirus curfew
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that it sent millions of masks, gloves, goggles and other items worth $1.7 million to protect healthcare professionals and other frontline workers in Turkey from COVID-19. "WHO has also assisted the Ministry of Health to track the spread of COVID-19 in Istanbul, one of the cities hit hardest by the pandemic," it said.
Turkey will be imposing partial curfews on the days when the nationwide high school and university exams will be held on June 20, 27 and 28. The partial curfews will begin at 9 a.m. and last until 3 p.m. on June 20 and 27, whereas it will be in effect on June 28 between 9.30 a.m. and 6.30 p.m., the Interior Ministry said.
Turkey's Constitutional Court rejected a senior citizen's application claiming their personal liberties had been violated by the COVID-19 curfew. Turkey's seniors were under curfew for almost three months in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, until a June 9 decision allowed them to go outside during the day.
A Turkish professor noted that the faulty use of masks could lead to a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases. Noting that many people fail to cover their nose and mouth with their mask, the doctor said that a potential second wave could arrive in the second half of June.
A group of seniors in Istanbul's Cihangir neighborhood protested the ongoing curfew on their age group. On a Sunday when they were allowed outside, the seniors asked the curfew to be lifted on citizens over 65 who have dutifully stayed home for months to avoid spreading COVID-19.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has decided to cancel a weekend lockdown announced late on June 4 after public backlash. In a series of tweets, Erdoğan said on June 5 the government had to impose the weekend lockdown after daily new COVID-19 cases rose from around 700 to nearly 1,000.
The southeastern province of Gaziantep once again received almost half of all fines issued nationwide for violating the weekend curfew. A total of 5,108 fines were issued to individuals during the curfew, while 16 businesses were fined for operating during the curfew.
Residents of Turkey's provinces under COVID-19 lockdowns flocked to streets, bus stations and even the beach after midnight. As businesses reopened and daily life returned to pre-coronavirus activity, traffic congestion in Istanbul rose to 26 percent by 7.30 a.m. on June 1.
An anonymous resident of the southeastern province of Diyarbakir infected 13 people during an Eid al-Fitr visit to their family members. The individual’s visit violated the nationwide lockdown implemented in an attempt to prevent gatherings during the holiday.
Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that Turkey is waging a struggle for political and economic independence, as he commented on the economic situation of the country amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the minister, Turkey is one of the countries that were the least affected by the pandemic in terms of employment and growth.
Turkey's law enforcement fined some 47,831 persons during the four-day curfew on and after Eid al-Fitr. Citizens flocked to the streets immediately after the lockdown ended at midnight on May 27, even creating traffic congestion in Istanbul.
Turkish Spider-Man Burak Soylu has distributed candy to entertain children at home amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "I threw candy to children in their balconies. They experienced Eid to some extent. I'm happy to see children smile," he said.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said that there are 156 soldiers who tested positive for the coronavirus, adding that the Turkish Armed Forces is among the most successful armies in the world in terms of the number of cases. Akar noted that there are no coronavirus cases in the operation areas as a result of the adopted measures.
Three HDP deputies have slammed police over lining 13 people facing a wall for violating the curfew imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. "This is governing without a constitution and law. This is the ordinary fascism of the Presidential Palace's state, in which the people's wills are crushed daily," lawmaker Serpil Kemalbay said, while another deputy, Murat Sarısaç asked, "Are you apprehending prisoners of war?"
Prof. Ahmet Demircan from the Health Ministry's Science Commission has criticized people for flocking to shopping malls amid the coronavirus pandemic, while urging those who absolutely need to go shopping to be as quick as possible in leaving the malls. "The queues in front of shopping malls are beyond comprehension," he said.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
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
Turkey's top medical association has said that 143,000 coronavirus patients are currently treated at their homes, whereas 460,000 others have been placed under mandatory home quarantine. The Turkish Medical Association made the remarks based on the results of a survey conducted with family physicians across the country.
A report penned by CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu has said that 29 journalists, writers and publishers have received jail terms during January-September period of this year, 20 of whom have been arrested. "The animosity against journalists that is on the rise during the AKP rule is due to the government's stance against freedom of press,” Tanrıkulu said.
A group of university students and alumni are requesting that the Credit and Dormitories Agency (KYK) annul all loans. Currently, some five million Turkish university students are in debt to the state-run KYK, and 300,000 face prosecution for not being able to pay back the debt.
The lira sank to a record low to near 8 versus the dollar after Turkey’s central bank ignored investors' calls to raise its main interest rate. The decision to leave the rate unchanged prompted economists to question the central bank’s commitment to lowering inflation and its independence from the government.
Putin said on Oct. 22 Russia and Turkey disagree about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but emphasized strong ties between Moscow and Ankara. Erdoğan "might seem tough, but is a flexible politician and reliable partner for Russia," Putin said.
A 24-year-old woman was shot dead by her brother in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, news portal Jinnews reported on Oct. 21. Meanwhile, a local court discounted a femicide assailant's sentence on "good behavior," adding to the list of killers that Turkish courts are lenient toward.
Protesting miners from around Turkey were promised a solution within 10 days during an Oct. 21 meeting with Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group Deputy Chairwoman Özlem Zengin. Hundreds of miners started marching to the capital earlier this month, as survivors of the Soma Mining Disaster are yet to receive damages, and workers in Ermenek have 13 months of unpaid wages.
A newly passed legislation will allow ministries to veil their budget items as they submit their budget proposals to parliament. This means that they are no longer obliged to make it public how much is paid to private contractors for projects.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has confirmed that Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems were tested last week, as he also dismissed NATO allies' concerns on the issue. Akar also said that the S-400 won’t be integrated into NATO’s command-and-control infrastructure, but rather "used as a standalone system similar to the use of Russian-made S-300 weapons that exist within NATO."
Turkey's Health Ministry will regulate the administration of flu shots through the online government portal as supplies will fall short of soaring demand. Patients will need to obtain prescriptions from their family practitioner, report to a pharmacy with their prescription. Pharmacies will be supplied shots only after receipt of a prescription.
The AKP and its ally MHP on Oct. 21 rejected the HDP's demand to investigate what really unfolded during the 2014 Kobane protests for the 10th time. The HDP's demand came after dozens of its members, including co-mayors of the eastern province of Kars, were arrested over the protests six years later earlier this month.
A bus assistant in Turkey sexually harassed a 17-year-old passenger on a trip with Metro Turizm vehicle, notorious for sexual assault incidents. The company told an Instagram user who shared footage of the assault that the worker was uninsured, and asked them to remove the video.
Ankara said on Oct. 21 it extended the stay of its Oruç Reis survey vessel and two other ships in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean until Oct. 27. Ankara had withdrawn Oruç Reis from last month to "allow for diplomacy" before a European Union summit at which Cyprus sought sanctions against Turkey, but sent it back this month, prompting an angry rebuke from Greece, France and Germany.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has determined that teacher and author Tahir Baykuşak's rights were violated by police who assaulted him during an ID check in Istanbul in 2016. The court said that a proper investigation was not carried out and that the mistreatment of police violated the 17th Article of the constitution.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Oct. 21 condemned Turkey for "violating international law" during one-day regional summit. Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the "baseless" allegations a day later, saying that Ankara will continue to protect "our rights and the Turkish Cypriots' rights with determination."
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
Turkish police on Oct. 22 detained 14 people in anti-ISIS operations in Istanbul. Police said that 13 of those apprehended are foreigners and their extradition processes began. Sources told state-run Anadolu Agency that some of the suspects were active in Syria.
Refugee children are isolated to a single school in the central Turkish province of Kırşehir, daily Evrensel reported. The school has reached enrollment figures of more than 1,000 elementary and middle school students, all of whom are refugees. Smaller numbers of refugee children coming from relatively well-to-do families were reportedly able to enroll in regular schools alongside Turkish students.
Economy
The Turkish government has said that it "laughs off" boycotts imposed on Turkish products in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and United Arab Emirates. "We laugh off some countries' boycotts against Turkey. They should first learn to stand as independent countries," AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 18.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that income per capita in Turkey would drop to 2005 levels, an annual average of $7,720. The IMF also predicted a five percent contraction in the Turkish economy until the end of 2020, despite Ankara's 0.3 percent growth projection.
Turkey's net international investment deficit grew by $20 billion from the end of 2019 to reach a total $365.8 billion at the end of August. Turkey's international assets shrunk by 10.2 percent to reach $227.4 billion in the same period.
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.
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.
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.
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.