criminal charges
Turkey has been using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to suppress freedom of expression and crack down on dissenting views, said Amnesty International in a report published last week. The Turkish government has been known for aggressively targeting social media users and bringing criminal charges against them for their posts for the past several years, and this remained constant during the coronavirus outbreak.
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
The İYİ Party is in disarray after deputy Ümit Özdağ claimed that the party's Istanbul chair, Buğra Kavuncu, is a Gülenist. While Kavuncu blasted the allegations and said that he will file a complaint against Özdağ, İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener said that the legal process gives the deputy the opportunity to prove his claims.
Greece has asked the European Commission to consider suspending a customs union agreement between Turkey and the European Union due to Ankara’s “continued provocations." Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the Commission should consider the full suspension of the customs union “as a message of disapproval for Turkey's ongoing illegal behavior" against the EU.
A man has threatened his wife with two bullets, accusing her of cheating on him just because both her and a male colleague's coronavirus tests came out positive. The abusive husband's threats that lasted for days caused the woman to give early birth.
A summary of proceedings was prepared against CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel for calling Erdoğan "a lame duck" in 2019, when in fact Erdoğan used the same for the CHP a day earlier. Özel said that the prosecutor who accuses him of insulting the president needs to launch an investigation into Erdoğan as well since he used the same phrase against the main opposition.
A building housing Alevi families in suburban Istanbul was the scene of a hate crime, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Oct. 20. Police started an investigation into the incident, the most recent in Turkey's long record of hate crimes. "Everyone should hear our voice," resident Muhterem Aydoğdu said.
The health director of the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa warned locals that hot peppers don't protect from coronavirus. The director also said that locals thought the heat protected from the illness, but that both were misconceptions.
Medical students from Istanbul University started a boycott of their dining hall, requesting free, quality meals. The students are asking that attending doctors be allowed in the personnel cafeteria everyday, and that students who are simply working at the hospital be offered meals during their shifts.
After having been blocked in Turkey for five years, the European Court of Human Rights is expecting Turkey to provide a defense of its decision to block access to the website sendika.org, which mainly covers labor issues. The website's lawyers took the countless bans to the ECHR in February after Turkey's Constitutional Court failed to look into the case for five years.
The downgrading of the protected status of various areas in Ayvalık is among the latest attempts by the government to incentivize development projects in the region, a troubling trend that has threatened natural areas throughout the country. The authorities also want to downgrade the protected status of a significant section of Cunda Island, according to Ayvalık Nature Platform director Nebahat Dinler.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has refuted reports that the Menzil cult is active within the ministry, while also promising to fight all cults. The minister's remarks came after Ali Edizer, a deputy chief physician, was removed from his post after defending Islamist polygamy on social media. His links to the Menzil cult surfaced later on, adding to the years-long suspicion that the religious group is active in the ministry.
An Ankara appeals court has ruled that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's referring to renowned political expert Prof. Baskın Oran as a “servant” and “despicable” person fell within the scope of freedom of expression.
Turkish Health Ministry has revised its daily coronavirus toll for Oct. 19 following an inconsistency in data. The ministry initially said that the country registered 1,958 new coronavirus "patients" in the last 24 hours, but later revised the figure as 2,026.
Former Mardin Mayor Ahmet Türk on Oct. 19 testified for Ankara prosecutors as part of an investigation into 2014 Kobane protests. Türk said that he went to Kobane at the time within the knowledge of Turkish authorities and the aid to Kobane was dispatched under the coordination of Mardin Governor's Office.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has congratulated the new leader of the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus Ersin Tatar and has expressed hope that Tatar would support a new UN-led peace initiative to solve the Cyprus issue. Tatar is a supporter of separate administrations on the Mediterranean island which split after a 1974 Turkish invasion in response to a brief Greek-inspired coup.
Turkey began withdrawing its troops from the “ninth” military observation point in Morek city, in northwestern Syria, according to various reports. Turkish forces have been stationed in Morek for nearly two years and four months.
Ankara-backed presidential candidate Ersin Tatar won the elections in Turkish Cyprus. In his victory speech, Tatar thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with whom he has strong relations. They will never tear the ties between us and Turkey," he said. "Yes, we are open to an agreement with Cyprus but the Turkish Cypriot people will accept the terms of this agreement with a free will," he added.
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.
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.