Fahrettin Koca
Turkey's deaths from the coronavirus increased by 23 to 131 on March 29, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 1,815 to 9,217, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. He added that 9,982 tests had been conducted in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in Turkey to 65,446 since the outbreak begun.
Turkey's death toll from the coronavirus increased by 16 to 108 on March 28, as the number of confirmed cases rose by 1,704 to 7,402, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
Turkey’s death toll from coronavirus rose by 17 to 92 as the number of cases increased by 2,069 to 5,698, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on March 27. The government is not disclosing the location of cases to prevent the risk of increasing transmission rates by encouraging people to move from areas with high rates to places where there are no or few cases, Koca said.
Turkey did not use the rapid coronavirus kits procured from China after tests suggested they had a low accuracy level, Prof. Dr. Ateş Kara, a member of the Health Ministry's Coronavirus Science Committee, said on March 26. A day later, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed that a batch of kits shipped from China was not used, but said that these unreliable kits were different than the recently purchased 350,000 kits.
Turkey’s death toll from coronavirus rose by 16 to 75 as the number of cases increased by 1,196 to 3,629, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on March 26. He said on Twitter that 7,286 tests were carried out within the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in Turkey to around 40,000.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has said that the official coronavirus case numbers in Turkey are "just the tip of the iceberg." It said that sick people whose clinical symptoms and CT scans are suggestive of COVID-19 should be considered as coronavirus patients "until proven otherwise" with repeat tests.
The last time President Erdoğan, who is 66 years-old, physically took part in a meeting was a week ago. Nobody asks whether the President and his close circle have been tested for coronavirus. And of course, no one dares to ask what happens if he gets sick, and what the Turkish Presidential System would bring.
Turkey’s death toll from coronavirus rose by 15 to 59 as the number of cases increased by 561 to 2,433, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on March 25. He said that 5,035 tests were carried out within the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests carried out in Turkey to around 33,000.
Turkish schools will remain closed until April 30 due to coronavirus pandemic and will continue to offer remote learning from home for students during this time period, said Education Minister Ziya Selçuk.
Turkey’s death toll from coronavirus rose by seven to 44 as the number of cases surged to 1,872, Health Minister Koca said on March 24. Of the latest seven victims, one had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (known as COPD), while the other six were elderly patients, Koca said.
Despite Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca's statement that 500,000 locally-manufactured coronavirus test kits have been exported to the U.S., Turkish surgeon Ergin Koçyıldırım said there was not a single health institution in the country using these tests for diagnostic purposes. The surgeon said he had consulted the country's two main public health institutions responsible for protecting the nation's health regarding this issue -- the CDC and FDA.
Novel coronavirus drugs from China were distributed to 40 cities across Turkey via air ambulances to be used for patients in intensive care units. "The drugs that reached the Ankara late at night were distributed to 40 cities via air ambulances. The new drugs will be used for COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care units," Minister Koca said in a written statement, adding that the effect of the drugs will be clear in the upcoming days.
Turkey’s death toll from coronavirus rose by seven to 37 as the number of cases surged to 1,529, Health Minister Koca said. He also said that 3,672 tests were carried out within the last 24 hours.
Turkey's death toll from coronavirus rose from nine to twenty-one as the number of cases surged to 947, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on March 21. Koca said on Twitter that 2,953 tests had been conducted in the past 24 hours, 277 of which came back positive. He once again urged the elderly population to stay at home.
Turkey's death toll from coronavirus rose to nine as the number of cases surged to 670, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said late on March 20. Koca said the latest five victims were elderly patients with weak immune system. Meanwhile, President Erdoğan once again urged citizens not to leave home unless necessary and to minimize social contact.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the underlying factors behind the recent moves of Turkey's ruling alliance which paves the way for further polarization in politics as the country enters the final months of 2020. They also analyze the effects of the sharp decline of the Turkish Lira against foreign currencies over public's perception.
Dinçer Demirkent writes: Interior Minister Soylu said that the head of the Constitutional Court would be unable to commute to work without his protection team. What he meant was that he was the Minister who assigned the security team to the judge, implying he might just remove them. By doing so, Süleyman Soylu openly violates the article 138 of the Turkish Constitution; basic principle for the independence of the judiciary.
Politics
DEVA chair Ali Babacan has criticized the government's new three-year economic program, saying he did not see it including any “concrete steps” which will economically provide a relief to the people. Babacan also said that with this new program, the government has admitted to Turkey being impoverished since he left the position of deputy prime minister in 2015.
Turkey's Constitutional Court on Sept. 29 postponed its decision to review Osman Kavala's appeal with regards to his ongoing arrest, citing the impending indictment against the philanthropist. Just a couple of hours after the Constitutional Court's statement, Istanbul prosecutors submitted the new indictment against Kavala to the relevant court, concerning “espionage” charges.
Istanbul prosecutors have dismissed a case against CHP Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu, who was being sued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide Fahrettin Altun in a dispute concerning an illegal construction undertaken in Istanbul's Üsküdar district.
Murat Gezenler, the head of a Salafi association, has said that the number of Salafis in Turkey is much higher than what is stated in the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) reports. Gezenler also said that one of the differences between his association and ISIS is that the latter accepts Turks as Muslims, whereas they don't.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Group Deputy Chair Saruhan Oluç said that the government was trying to create "a Turkey without the HDP" with its mass detentions. Dozens of HDP members were detained last week in relation to the 2014 Kobane protests.
Turkish Parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop has said that he believes in reintroduction of death penalty for certain crimes, a proposal suggested by far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli earlier in September. "I am of the opinion that death penalty could be considered for premediated murder and sexual abuses committed against minors and women,” Şentop said on Sept. 29.
Turkish state and university hospitals are offering to repay debts totalling some 19 billion lira ($2.43 billion) to drugmakers and medical equipment firms, but with a discount, Reuters reported on Sept. 29.
Turkey's Human Rights Association revealed that 20 inmates died in prison in Turkey during the first nine months of 2020. Data also showed that there are currently 1,605 sick prisoners in Turkey, 604 of which are seriously ill.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that he doesn't care about exchange rates and that he doesn't follow them, as the Turkish Lira plumbed to new lows on Sept. 29. Albayrak's comments came after he unveiled the country's new economic program for 2021-2023 based on themes of "new stabilization, new normal, and the new economy." The minister said the Turkish economy is projected to grow 0.3 percent this year.
A man who stabbed and killed his neighbor's dog and injured two others was released by an Istanbul court. Due to a lack of legal protection for animal rights in Turkey, the attacker Faruk Ö. was charged with property damage.
The downfall of cruise tourism has benefited Turkey's ship recyclers as multi-million-dollar ships are scrapped at the Aegean Izmir facility. The recyclers expect almost one million tonnes of scraps this year.
Students in the eastern province of Kars asked the government for help in a video where they're seen doing classwork on a barren hill, the only spot where they can access the internet. Former main opposition deputy Barış Yarkadaş noted that remote education wasn't as effective as the government made it seem.
The publisher and editor-in-chief of a local daily were arrested on slander charges in the western province of Koceali two days after running a story about a “rape gang” in the district. While the story accused local officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of assaulting a minor, the prosecutor’s office ruled the suspects mentioned “were not involved” in the incident.
The total number of COVID-19 deaths in Turkey surpassed 8,000 as 65 patients died on Sept. 28, Health Ministry data revealed. Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca noted that the number of recovered patients was higher than the number of new diagnoses for the first time in a while.
The Kars governor's office announced on Sept. 28 that it banned all “demonstrations and activities” for a period of 15 days until Oct. 12. The ban came into effect just hours before HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan's planned rally in the province, in support of Kars mayor Ayhan Bilgen who was among those taken into custody in simultaneous police raids last week.
A group led by forensic science expert and human rights defender Prof. Şebnem Korur Fincancı won the elections for the leadership of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB). Fincancı is now expected to be elected the leader of the association in the upcoming meeting.
A women's prison in southeast Turkey banned a book that was co-authored by the chairman of Turkey's Constitutional Court (AYM). The book that was found "suspicious" by the prison is about freedom of expression.
The New York Times reported on Sept. 28 that Trump Towers Istanbul has netted U.S. President Donald Trump $1 million in 2016 and 2017. Trump has long had business ties in and with Turkey, the most visible example being the Trump Towers Istanbul, which licenses the Trump name.
Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into Tele1 TV editor-in-chief Merdan Yanardağ over his reports that Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman paid a visit to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following his wedding ceremony. The court ruled for Yanardağ's release, but imposed judicial control measures involving regularly reporting at his local police station as well as overseas travel ban.
Halk TV, a broadcaster that's critical of the government, blacked out on Sept. 28 following a ruling from Turkey's Radio and Television High Council (RTÜK). The five-day blackout is a first in the council's history, as such harsh sanctions haven't been issued before.
Economy
A jaw dropping 95 percent of a fund established to develop Turkey's internet infrastructure has disappeared, a main opposition deputy said. Some 1.5 billion liras were collected for the fund in 2019, but 1.4 billion of that has vanished, Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Murat Emir said.
Turkey's Central Bank unexpectedly hiked interest rates on Sept. 24, triggering an improvement in the lira's value against the dollar. The Turkish Lira has sunk to record lows over the past month as Ankara's currency interventions proved futile.
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
U.S. tech giant Amazon offered up its speed-delivery subscription to Turkish consumers on Sept. 15. The monthly subscription fee was set for 7.99 Turkish Liras, about one dollar with the current exchange rates.
Urban Beat
CHP deputy Mustafa Adıgüzel has found a lost letter penned by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's founding father, to a U.S. child called Curtis La France. "My advice to the intelligent and hardworking children of the U.S. is to not perceive everything they hear about Turks as true and attach importance to basing their opinions on scientific and sound examinations. I wish you success and happiness," Atatürk said in the letter.
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.
Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that was held by Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets.
The Odunpazarı Modern Museum in western Eskişehir won the award for "international project of the year over £1m" at the London Museums+Heritage Awards. The museum opened its doors just over a year ago in the city's ancient Odunpazarı neighborhood.
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.