coronavirus outbreak
The last hospitalized COVID-19 patient was discharged in the breakaway Turkish Cyprus. The government in Northern Cyprus closed borders mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Istanbul Municipal Council's members from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have significantly decreased the municipality's resources despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, prompting criticism from Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu for being politically-motivated. "I should underline that these decisions will go down in history. This is wrong during the pandemic period," he said.
Turkey cancelled its basketball and volleyball leagues for the 2019-2020 season on May 11 over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Last week, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) decided to resume its leagues from June 12 and aims to complete the season on July 26.
Turkey's hotels and restaurants will open May 27, although reopening will be dependent on businesses completing hygiene requirements by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
MHP deputy Cemal Enginyurt has blamed YÖK head Yekta Saraç for the disarray in exam dates. "The person responsible for the 2020 YKS exam dates in YÖK head Yekta Saraç. If you announce the date of the exam in February and make youth prepare in accordance, it creates confusion," he said. Enginyurt also addressed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a tweet, saying, "This YÖK head tricked you."
The Istanbul Municipality's Science Committee warned against early relaxing of COVID-19 precautions as the country begins normalization. The municipality criticized the reopening of shopping malls, hair salons and barber shops, and the start of the national soccer league.
A total of 44 convicts and arrestees were infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in Silivri Prison, Istanbul's Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said on May 8, adding that two of them are receiving treatment at a hospital. "The treatment of 40 arrestees/convicts, who don't show any symptoms, were decided to be carried out at an isolation location established in the prison," it said.
Turkey's Interior Ministry said that the sale of non-essentials in street markets could resume, since the country had made positive progress in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing and personal protective equipment will continue to be mandated.
Turkey’s social services experts and politicians agree that incarcerated minors are under increased risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the government should make an organized effort to protect them. Suggestions varied from releasing incarcerated children altogether to allowing unlimited phone calls.
A cyber attack targeting Istanbul Municipality's aid campaign website has disrupted its efforts. "We had to close access to our website because of an attack last night," spokesperson Murat Ongun said in a tweet on May 7. According to Ongun, a total of 41,883 bills were paid, amounting to 5,027,092 Turkish Liras.
Some 400,000 gowns sent from Turkey to the United Kingdom amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic failed to meet UK standards, as inspectors found the gear was "useless." UK officials inspected the gowns and discovered faults that rendered them too dangerous for use by NHS staff. Senior NHS sources suggested problems had been found with the type of material used and the length of the sleeves.
Some 209 Turkish citizens were evacuated from the Maldives, after which they were placed under quarantine in public dormitories in the Central Anatolian province of Kırşehir. The Family and Social Policies Ministry noted they would provide counseling to the citizens who will remain quarantined for two weeks.
Three opposition parties, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and the right-wing Good (İYİ) Party, have called on the government to revise the 2020 central budget following the shortcomings that occurred during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The deputies from the opposition parties said that the basic needs of the people were not met during the pandemic.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has criticized citizens for flocking to Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue with complete disregard to social distancing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "All pictures from daily life need to support the daily coronavirus chart," he said, referring to the ministry's daily chart that includes the number of new coronavirus cases and the death toll.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry announced that some 473 Turkish citizens have died from COVID-19 abroad. Meanwhile, the second round of evacuations have been underway, with nearly 30,000 citizens returning to Turkey.
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.