Diyarbakır
It appears that Turkey will face mounting problems with regards to the management of the pandemic in the coming weeks. As the government seeks control the pandemic, to be able to boast about its success story, the reality is that its ever-increasing oppression and lack of transparency do not help.
Dicle University in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has denied changing the medium of instruction from Kurdish to Turkish at its Kurdish language department. The university said in a statement on Aug. 3 that the medium of instruction had been always Turkish for the Kurdish studies programs.
A Turkish court has upheld a nine-year prison sentence given to jailed former Diyarbakır mayor Selçuk Mızraklı. Lawyers will now appeal to the Court of Cassation, which is the last instance for reviewing verdicts given by courts of criminal justice.
Police have detained over 20 women, including a journalist, politicians and activists, in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. A statement was released from the TJA on the issue, saying that the "attacks on women increased five fold under the current government."
Turkish doctors applied the Turkish ray therapy method (TurkishBeam) for the first time on June 26 for COVID-19 treatment on a patient in Diyarbakır. The patient is said to have recovered with this treatment method, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
Bar associations in Turkey have said that their march to the capital Ankara is being carried out "against darkness," adding their aim is for the draft bill on changing bars' election systems to be withdrawn. "We are not in darkness, but against it. We're marching against darkness. We hope that our efforts yield results. This country needs bright days and we hope that we'll see them together," Van bar head said.
Council of Europe's Venice Commission has called on Turkey to reinstate mayors from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) who were sacked and replaced with trustees. It listed recommendations, including making the law on ineligible candidates clear, recognizing the elected six mayoral candidates of the district municipalities of Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Kars and Van and reinstating the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van.
The acquittal decision for the father of a police victim from the Kurdish-dominated southeastern province of Şırnak was overturned. 24-year-old Hacı Lokman Birlik was shot to death and his body was dragged behind an armored vehicle. Birlik's father and nine others once again face terrorism charges for shouting Kurdish slogans at his funeral.
Turkey's COVID-19 Science Committee urged citizens to continue to follow preventative measures as the number of daily COVID-19 diagnoses has been on the rise since the start of the "normalization" process. The northern province of Gümüşhane has the highest fatality rate in Turkey with 12.4 percent, while the southeastern border town of Kilis has the lowest with 0.33 percent.
Kurdish issue-focused Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has said that its Democracy March is a call to all powers seeking freedom. "This great will and belief will definitely reach its aim. We saw this great power everywhere," HDK co-spokesperson Sedat Şenoğlu said upon the march's arrival at the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
Turkish prosecutors are seeking between three and nine years for a police officer who shot and killed university student Kemal Kurkut during Newroz spring celebrations in Diyarbakır in 2017.
Istanbul police will conduct inspections on cafes and restaurants amid a spike in coronavirus cases and reports that some of the enterprises are not abiding by the new rules on distancing and heightened hygiene procedures.
The Lice district of southeastern Diyarbakır assigned 22 teachers to inspect their parks for ten days. The teachers will be tasked with ensuring park visitors abide by COVID-19 prevention measures.
Münir Karaloğlu, a politician known for his praises for the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, was appointed as the governor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır. This is not the first time that a governor with known Gülen links was appointed to the province. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, who was later convicted of Gülen movement membership, was another one.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the country's eastern provinces have recently seen a partial increase in the number of coronavirus cases. Koca's statement came as the southeastern province of Diyarbakır made the wearing of masks mandatory in all public spaces amid concerns of a second wave in the province.
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
Individuals close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were appointed to vacated posts in the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK). According to Mustafa Mutlu Pekergin, a member of the supervisory board of the THK Köyceğiz branch, the appointments are unlawful.
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."
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.