coronavirus outbreak
Investigations were launched into 29 social media users over sharing "provocative" posts on coronavirus (COVID-19), hours after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported Turkey's first coronavirus case. According to the prosecutor's office, the 29 social media users shared posts accusing Turkish authorities of hiding the coronavirus cases is the country, as well as those that incite panic and fear in the society.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said "no virus is stronger than our precautions" hours after Turkey reported its first coronavirus case. Erdoğan said that the person who was diagnosed with coronavirus returned to Turkey after visiting Europe, adding that the individual's treatment is ongoing. "The patient's family is also being observed," he said.
Two people were quarantined on suspicion of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and the northwestern province of Sakarya on March 11, hours after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported Turkey's first coronavirus case.
A person was suspected to have been infected by the novel coronavirus on a Stockholm-Istanbul flight on March 10, causing a brief panic among the passengers. The person in question was later examined by an airport doctor who did not find any symptoms of the virus.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told a group of his supporters that they should not shake hands since he might have brought them coronavirus. One of his supporters, in return, said, "We accept everything that's coming from you."
Only 5.8 percent of Turkish citizens are taking precautions against the coronavirus outbreak that's killed more than 4,000 people worldwide since December, a poll by private Optimar Research revealed. In contrast, 76.8 percent of participants said that they were afraid of the outbreak reaching Turkey.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on March 10 that it's high likely that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is in Turkey, adding that there are no confirmed cases so far. While coronavirus has been spreading in Turkey’s neighboring countries, no cases were reported in Turkey.
An 86-year-old woman was diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) after returning from Turkey to the United States, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said on March 9. Turkey issued a statement a day later saying that the U.S. woman had not in fact visited Turkey, but only passed through the Istanbul Airport.
A German woman on holiday in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 10, Health Minister Ali Pilli said. A day earlier, the Greek Cypriot government in the island's south reported its first two confirmed cases of coronavirus, including a heart surgeon believed to have been infected on a recent trip to London.
Turkish police have announced that legal action will be taken on "misleading" social media posts about the presence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Turkey. "Fake accounts that featured fake images on coronavirus presence in Turkey and social media posts that incite fear and panic in the society were determined. Necessary legal action was taken on these individuals who aim to incite fear," it said.
A passenger who arrived in Singapore on March 2 aboard a Turkish Airlines plane tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the plane to be sent back empty on March 4. The passenger was a French national and transited through Istanbul en route to Singapore from London. The crew tested negative for the virus in Singapore.
A passenger flying on a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul to Singapore has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Singapore-based Channel NewsAsia said. Singapore's Foreign Ministry is in contact with the Turkish Embassy on this matter, according to the report.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that he told an Iranian delegation planning to visit Turkey to not come, but suggested talking over Skype instead, amid the coronavirus outbreak in Iran. "They wanted to send a delegation to our [ministry's] Science Committee to receive information. We said, 'Don't come. Let's talk over Skype,'" Koca said.
Turkey's Trade Ministry has placed protective medical gear like masks, bodysuits and gloves, on the list of items that need ministry pre-approval for being sold abroad, the official gazette said on Mar. 4. The export regulation comes amid a worldwide coronavirus outbreak that increased the global demand for such goods.
The man later confirmed to be Nigeria's first case of coronavirus entered the country on a Turkish Airlines flight from Milan that had a connection in Istanbul. The man was also the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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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
Hate speech and threats against Armenians in Turkey have accelerated following the outbreak of clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. HDP MP Garo Paylan, himself a Turkish-Armenian, has been targeted for his insistence on a ceasefire. "We can conclude that there will be no favorable results from this war--which has caused loss and destruction on both sides—and that the solution is on the peace table," Paylan said.
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.
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.