COVID-19 outbreak
Employees of Turkish Airlines (THY) have been facing an uncertain future due to the salary crisis that has been ongoing for five months in the company. According to Sözcü, talks between the THY and Hava-İş, the Turkish union representing a large number of workers in the civil aviation sector, have failed to reach a conclusion.
Only 25 percent of the Turkish public has trust in the presidency, according to a recent poll from the ArtıBir research company. Some 17.3 percent of those polled said that they did not have trust in any of the country's institutions, while the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was the most trusted institution with the confidence of 38.2 percent of those responding to the poll.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and two professors from the ministry's Science Commission have warned against the sharp increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş said that the increase in the number of cases returned to the levels seen at the first days of the pandemic in the capital.
Germany lifted a warning against travelling to four Turkish seaside provinces, Antalya, İzmir, Aydın and Muğla, as part of a deal to help revive tourism between the two countries, the foreign ministry in Berlin said on Aug. 4.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Chairman Sinan Adıyaman has criticized the Health Ministry for removing the number of intensive care unit and intubated patients from the daily COVID-19 data it shares every night. Adıyaman said that the ministry's move leads to suspicions that the coronavirus epidemic is getting worse in the country.
Social distancing was completely forgotten around Istanbul's Hagia Sophia ahead of its opening as a mosque, prompting concerns on the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Health Minister Fahrettin Koca shared warnings on Twitter, urging people to follow precautions. "First comes precautions, then takbir," Koca said, referring to the Arabic term for the phrase God is great.
Felicity Party (Saadet) deputy Abdulkadir Karaduman said on July 20 that he was admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. The deputy marks the fifth infection among Turkey's lawmakers.
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.
Only four percent of Turkey's health workers are immune to COVID-19, a recent series of tests conducted by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed. Meanwhile, immunity among Istanbulites measured around three percent.
Turkey will be resuming flights to and from Russia as of July 15. The country is the latest addition to a list of 31 others that Ankara allows travels to.
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca warned against a rising number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care on July 5. The number of patients in intensive care spiked by 34 on July 5, reaching 1,127.
A new testing center in Istanbul Airport will offer all passengers COVID-19 tests for 110 Turkish Liras each (about $16). The center's capacity is an hourly 2,000.
Turkey's traditional Çubuk pickles saw a surge in both domestic and international demand curing the COVID-19 pandemic when probiotic foods became popular to counteract the illness' gastrointestinal symptoms, a local cooperative said. The Ankara district has already exported more pickles in 2020 than in all of 2019.
A Turkish youth forum launched an interactive online map that revealed the age group's biggest issues during the COVID-19 pandemic to be access to education and to work. The right to health and shelter were referred as the second largest issues.
A Turkish COVID-19 Science Committee member warned of a second wave of infections if society isn't careful enough with preventative measures. The committee member noted that everyone should continue to wash their hands, social distance and wear a mask.
Editor's Pick
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
Politics
Thousands of Turkish women on Aug. 5 held protests across the country to demand that the ruling AKP does not withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. During the protest in İzmir, police battered and detained several of the women. As some of the protesters resisted being detained, one of the police commanders was heard instructing his colleagues to “break their arms” should they defy the police.
Osman Özçalımlı, a Turkish soldier of Kurdish origin, was found dead while doing his compulsory military service in Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir last week. In the face of authorities' contradictory statements, coupled with their son’s statement of having been threatened the day before, the family are now demanding to know what really happened.
Turkey's daily COVID-19 cases have shown a sharp rebounding trend, with more than 1,000 daily jump in successive days. “We need to prevent the risk in the Eid al-Adha and holiday from causing new consequences. We need unity in precautions," Health Minister Fahrettin Koca wrote on Twitter.
Turkish President Erdoğan has ordered the country’s education watchdog YÖK to shut down the universities' distance education programs for psychology studies. The move came after Istanbul University’s plan to launch such a program received widespread criticism among psychologists.
Six members of the left-wing Turkish popular folk band Grup Yorum were detained on Aug. 5 while performing at a concert rehearsal in Istanbul's Beykoz. The İdil Culture Center, which is run by the group, was also raided by the police.
The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has slammed prison conditions in Turkey, urging authorities to take "decisive action" against ill-treatment of police. The problem of prison overcrowding remained acute, the CPT said, and the steady increase in the size of the prison population already observed in the mid-2000s continued.
Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank has used the deadly explosion in Beirut to advocate the construction of the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, which seeks to carve out an artificial shipping canal on the outskirts of the European side of Istanbul in order to alleviate traffic from the Bosphorus Strait.
Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) is among those searching for survivors in Beirut after a massive blast in the city killed over 100 people and injured nearly 4,000, and Ankara has offered to build a field hospital and help as needed. "We are providing assistance with one ambulance to transfer patients. We may provide help according to the needs of the hospital," an İHH official said.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has said that number of daily coronavirus infections in Ankara alone amount to approximately 1,000, thereby disputing the official figures which put the daily nationwide tally at around this level. The TTB's statement came as Ankara provincial directorate of health on Aug. 4 ordered all hospitals in the city to allocate at least half of their beds for the use of COVID-19 patients.
Villagers in the Mehmetdede Tekke village in the central Anatolian province of Çorum have protested the mine drilling project on the grounds that it will hurt local agricultural production and reduce the amount of land used for agricultural purposes.
Thirty two women were killed by men during the month of July in Turkey. Fifty nine percent of the women killed by men in July were murdered by their current or ex-husbands. Femicides in Turkey have more than doubled within the past decade during the tenure of the ruling AKP.
Turkey Thinking Platform has announced that it will no longer submit any advisory report to the government on Istanbul Convention. The platform said that they entered a “mine field” with their May-dated report which urged President Erdoğan to withdraw from the landmark convention.
Germany on Aug. 4 partially lifted its coronavirus travel warning for Turkey, greenlighting summer holidays in the destinations of Antalya, İzmir, Aydın and Muğla. Turkey will require all travelers leaving for Germany to show a negative coronavirus test result obtained within the previous 48 hours, German Foreign Ministry said.
Death fasting lawyer Aytaç Ünsal called on the people to not let the doctors force feed him and another death fasting lawyer, Ebru Timtik. In a message he sent via his wife, Ünsal said that the doctors will "circle around them like vultures" and intervene medically without their consent if they lose their consciousness.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi has slammed Turkey's Justice Ministry for not revealing the number of coronavirus cases in prisons for nearly 50 days. "A heightening risk is in question at prisons, but the ministry is more concerned about hiding the number of cases than struggling against the virus," she said.
A pro-Taliban group has recorded a video at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia, days after the site was converted into a mosque by the Turkish government. The footage showed the group chanting Islamic slogans while holding the flag used by the Taliban.
CHP member and former presidential candidate Muharrem İnce is reportedly planning to found a new political party. "Our party will have individuals who are experts in their fields and their presence will excite everyone," İnce reportedly said.
The Turkish Language Association (TDK) has been seeking to cut the use of English in company names, as it said that a bill that would protect the Turkish language should be proposed. Saying that English words are currently perceived as if they're a part of Turkish, the association noted that presenters and guests on TV shows speak English "to be more impressive."
Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that a defendant employer who tracked the correspondence of his employee via a computer program he designed could not use this information as a reason for termination.
Economy
The Turkish Lira has devalued drastically against the dollar, reaching almost seven liras on the dollar. Ankara has invested almost $60 billion in currency interventions in 2020 to no avail, Financial Times reported on July 28.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 15 that companies involved in construction of the TurkStream pipeline will be subject to the U.S. penalties unless they stop their works. “It’s a clear warning to companies. Aiding and abetting Russia’s malign influence projects will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences,” he said.
The Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TÜPRAŞ) ranked as Turkey's largest industrial business with 87.9 billion liras in annual production revenue. The oil company was followed mostly by automotive producers.
On the second anniversary of Turkey's transformation into a presidential system, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has prepared a report detailing how the country stands in the ensuing years, finding that the Turkish lira has lost four times its value since 2007.
Urban Beat
Mois Gabay writes: Do you think the Camondo family will be included in the Beyoğlu Culture Road project conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism? What about Arif Ergin’s “Tekvin” novel, in which he imagined that there would be a “Camondo Museum” one day?
Artifacts from Istanbul's ancient Hagia Sophia will be displayed in a nearby public building that will be transformed into a museum. Formerly used as a land office, the late-19th-century building in historical Sultanahmet will be converted on the president's orders.
Luke Frostick writes: Edanur Kuntman’s Tales from Behind the Window has been nominated for an Eisner Award. If she wins, she will be the first Turk to win an Eisner. The story is a piece of creative-nonfiction and its main narrative is drawn from the memories of Kuntman’s grandmother growing up in the Çarşamba district of Samsun.