coronavirus outbreak
The Turkish Health Ministry is under scrutiny over the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases it announces daily. "This is not the exact number of positive cases. However, this is not the number of patients receiving treatment at hospitals only," the ministry reportedly told Prof. Mehmet Ceyhan, prompting confusion on what the numbers on the daily coronavirus chart mean.
Authorities in Istanbul announced curbs on weddings and other ceremonies in Turkey's largest city on Aug. 29. The restrictions were published a few hours before Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 1,549 new cases of coronavirus had been diagnosed in Turkey, the highest daily number since mid-June. Thirty-nine people died, the most since mid-May, he said.
Prof. Oya İtil, the deputy chair of Turkish Thoracic Society, pointed to the exhaustion among doctors and said that resignations are increasing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The professor also said that the rapid switch to normalization in July and August led to a sharp increase in COVID-19 patients.
Turkey's coronavirus count rose on Aug. 15 to its highest daily level since June, with total deaths nearing 6,000. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter there were 1,256 new cases and 21 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing total cases above 278,000, and he urged Turkish people to work together to turn things around.
Turkey has suspended flights to Iran and Afghanistan as part of the measures against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the country's transport ministry said on July 19. Earlier, a spokesman for Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, Reza Jafarzadeh, said that the suspension of flights had begun on July 18.
Turkey's Central Bank has said that the removal of certain preventive measures imposed to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the ensuing demand were the primary factors influencing inflation in June. According to the Central Bank's report, consumer prices went up 1.13 percent in June, rising 1.23 points and increasing 12.62 percent annually.
The wife of an inmate diagnosed with cancer and coronavirus has urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to release her husband. "This means he has been abandoned to die. I am calling upon the public, the Presidency, and the Ministry of Health: Release my husband right away. There are thousands of [coronavirus] patients in jail, their voices must be heard. People are coming face to face with death at the moment,” she said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on June 20 Turkey had lost some ground in its battle with the coronavirus but a focus on hygiene, masks and social distancing will protect people and help the economy rebound in the second half of the year. "The numbers in recent days show that we have lost our position in the fight against the epidemic," Erdoğan said in a televised address. "
After months of staying at home and practicing distancing, it is inevitable that people will occasionally swing too far in the other direction—once given the opportunity. This is a wider social problem, one which no amount of “pandemic-shaming” (polarized along political lines like most things in Turkey nowadays) is going to solve.
Syrian refugee children in Turkey have been facing difficulties in accessing distance education during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since many lack the necessary technological equipment to continue their education and live in crowded households, Syrian refugee children are among those who have limited access.
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.
Researchers at Istanbul's Sabancı University traced the first case of COVID-19 in Turkey to the United States, which also pointed to having arrived earlier than the official announcement of March 11. Meanwhile, the second and third cases were revealed to have arrived from Europe and Australia.
Four Turkish provinces reported new COVID-19 diagnoses after up to more than a month of not observing new cases. The mediterranean province of Antalya and the eastern towns of Artvin, Elazığ and Bingöl reported diagnosing new patients a little over two weeks after Turkey started its "normalization" process.
The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and EuroCup basketball tournaments on May 25 have become the latest major sports events canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. EuroLeague President & CEO Jordi Bertomeu said this is the most difficult decision they had taken in the organization's history.
The number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients in Turkey had increased for two days as of May 24, a spike that comes nearly two weeks after the re-opening of malls, hairdressers and small businesses on May 11. The number of patients who died from the virus have also increased with 32 fatalities on May 24, five more persons than the death toll of May 22.
Editor's Picks
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Vural Özdemir writes: A smirk is invariably political and never innocent. Smirk undermines democratic practices and human rights. Let’s bear in mind that oppression is sometimes enacted upon us in the form of a smirk.
Politics
A women's company in the western province of Uşak work to protect an art they inherited from their mothers, the endangered technique of weaving that produces "Turkish rugs," as they are known globally. Represented in Renaissance paintings, the Uşak rugs were once a symbol of wealth and prestige.
Turkish prosecutors have demanded up to 10 years in jail for Müyesser Yıldız, the Ankara news editor for the OdaTV online news portal, and İsmail Dükel, Ankara representative of broadcaster TELE1, on charges of revealing state secrets. Yıldız is facing charges with regards to her two articles about Ankara's military involvement in Libya, whereas it remains yet unclear for which broadcast(s) Dükel is accused of defying the National Intelligence Law.
Two men who were detained in Van's Çatak and who were taken to a hospital by soldiers were thrown from a military helicopter, hospital records have confirmed. According to the records, Osman Şiban and Servet Turgut were brought to the hospital for "getting injured after falling from a helicopter." Van Governor's Office, meanwhile, denied the incident, saying that Turgut "fell in a rocky area when trying to escape from soldiers."
Merkez İlaç CEO Mehmet Şapçı has told Health Minister Fahrettin Koca that most of the sanitizers used in hospitals are fake. According to Şapçı, these fake products have around 3.3 percent povidone-iodine, whereas the standard is at 10 percent. He also named the fake products in the letter he sent to the minister.
In a not-so-veiled message to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan has said that although the top court is open to criticism of its decisions, remarks which focus on judges and "go beyond criticism will not bring any benefit.” Arslan's comments came after he was targeted by Soylu over the top court's decision to permit inter-city demonstrations and marches.
A report prepared annually by the Hrant Dink Foundation showed that Armenians were the most targeted group in hate speech in Turkish media in 2019. According to the report, there were 5,515 instances of hate speech in local and national media and 803 of them targeted Armenians. Syrian refugees followed Armenians with 760 instances, Greeks ranked third with 754 and Jews were targeted 676 times.
Turkey's premier petrochemical company Petkim has been involved in illegal oil business with Syria, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Files, which said that Petkim and its associate Petrokim completed over $90 million in "suspicious transactions" between March 2010 and January 2016.
Handan Bul, a 23-year-old woman was shot dead by a coworker she turned down in the western province of Bilecik. The 30-year-old assailant, Yusuf Uğur also shot and killed himself on site.
After the suspicious death of Kurdish soldier Mustafa Araz in the province of Kırklareli in May was ruled a suicide by military officials, Araz's family has stated that they believe their son was murdered. The family also disputes that the suicide note which was added to his file actually belongs to Mustafa Araz.
A young man is offering unique codes provided by the government to visitors of the Diyarbakır Courthouse, as the codes are required to enter public buildings. Initially created as a traveling precaution during the pandemic, HES codes are available online, but not everyone knows g-how to get them, the young man said.
The HDP has conducted an online meeting with representatives from 26 EU member states regarding Turkey-EU relations, human rights, and the Kurdish issue. HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said that the EU needs to take a more consistent stance against Turkey's "increasingly authoritarian government."
The founders of private Altınbaş University were detained on charges of fraud in Istanbul. The brothers allegedly reported buying boat fuel to benefit from tax exemptions regarding marine transportation.
An Ankara court has ruled for the continuation of imprisonment of former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ on charges related to 2014 Kobane riots. The Kobane investigation was launched in 2014 and reopened in 2019, and has failed to produce an indictment for Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ since. Lawyer Levent Kanat has said that new charges were brought against the politicians over the same incident to make sure that they remain in prison.
Heavy machinery entered the sacred Alevi grounds of Munzur Springs in eastern Dersim, despite promises from the governor's office that landscaping in the area wouldn't involve construction machinery. The state-run project will reportedly cost eight million liras, and was allegedly approved by a natural resources protection board.
Future Party chairman Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the party will nominate its own presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, amid rumors that opposition parties are contemplating of coalescing behind a joint candidate. Davutoğlu said that although Future Party is open to cooperation with other parties concerning various issues, it still aims for the rulership on its own.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has announced that its 72nd Great Congress will no longer be held at CerModern, but instead at Bilkent Hotel. The change came after CerModern notified the TTB that it could not meet the COVID-19-related safety guidelines designated by the Ankara Governor's Office.
Run by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), the Islamic Research Center (İSAM) has seen a 600-percent increase in its budget over the last 16 years. Known for holding a symposium about Islamic fatwas on medical issues, the foundation is chaired by a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
A group of health workers in Ankara had to barricade the door of an emergency room when loved ones of a patient wanted to push their way in to see the deceased gunshot victim. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that the workers had been afraid of a violent attack, as health workers in Turkey are often targeted by patients' families.
Economy
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Turkish Airlines (THY) observed a drop of almost 65 percent in the number of August travelers compared to the year before. Domestic flights saw a smaller drop of 47.1 percent, while international flights shrank by 75.4 percent, THY said.
Urban Beat
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Heavy presence of the Asian tiger mosquito was detected in four Istanbul districts, concerning locals as the bug can carry malaria, the Zika virus and encephalitis. The invasive species have been increasing in population around Istanbul in the past decade, an Istanbul University veterinarian said.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.