Germany
Germany has not lifted its coronavirus travel warning for Turkey due to the latter's insistence on using the controversial malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 patients, Der Spiegel said, basing its report on sources from the German Foreign Ministry. The drug is not approved for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in Germany, and the effects of the treatment and the risks for the patients are said to be unclear.
Ankara has been readying for Germany’s EU Presidency in its own way. The first thing on Ankara’s agenda is brokering and concluding a new migrant agreement with the EU, and doing so by gnawing away some serious concessions. We may translate this as “money talks”.
German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth has called on Turkey to "respect its international obligations" and to implement the European Court of Human Rights' decision urging for philanthropist Osman Kavala's immediate release.
A Swiss court blocked the extradition to Germany of an alleged PKK regional leader, ruling that German authorities had not made enough of a case against the man whose group is not banned in Switzerland. The man, a Turkish citizen whose identity was not revealed in the Federal Criminal Court verdict, had fought extradition since his arrest at Zurich airport last November on an international warrant.
Germany is talking to Ankara about reviewing travel restrictions with Turkey but is waiting for a European Union recommendation before taking any decisions, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on June 3. "We see that Turkey is making great efforts, but I can't give a forecast on how and when a decision will be taken," he added.
The German government's Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office has called on Turkey to release Osman Kavala after the ECHR rejected a Turkish appeal of a Dec. 10 ruling that found the influential businessman's imprisonment to be in violation of his rights. “I therefore call on the Turkish Government to meet the obligations it has entered into under the European Convention on Human Rights,” Bärbel Kofler said on May 12.
A man suspected of carrying out attacks on Turkish-owned businesses in Bavaria was a follower of ISIS, German authorities have said. Police apprehended the suspect on May 8 at a train station after he was caught traveling without a ticket. In his bag, police said they found 10 functional pipe bombs. They later found 13 more pipe bombs and 10 kilograms of explosive chemicals in a car left in a parking garage.
In the first eight months of 2019, Turkey received weapons from Germany worth 250.4 million euros, making it the biggest recipient country. Germany's economy ministry refused to announce the data for the rest of the year "to protect the producers," therefore the annual figure remains a mystery.
The latest official figures from Turkey's Ministry of Health indicate that as of May 3, the number of cases of the novel coronavirus has reached 126,045.However, according to the Turkish Medial Association (TTB) the number actually exceeds 600,000.
A German clinic has announced that it terminated the employment contract of a Turkish heart surgeon over his comments that "homosexuality is a disease." The doctor's statements echoed those of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş.
Several German politicians have found recent remarks of Diyanet head Ali Erbaş on LGBTI individuals alarming, with one saying: "Erbaş's statements once again showed that the situation for LGBTI people in Turkey remains very difficult, indeed dangerous." They have also said that they were expecting imams affiliated with Diyanet's branch DİTİB, Germany's largest Islamic umbrella group, to "abide by the basic values of freedom and tolerance."
Sinem Sönmez writes: It’s the combination of a lockdown and mass testing that is most effective in controlling the spread of the coronavirus and flattening of the curve. If Turkey follows the footsteps of Germany and South Korea by carrying out mass COVID-19 testing to isolate the carriers of this virus, there would be no need to build new hospitals to accommodate new COVID-19 patients.
A recent survey revealed that almost half of German companies functioning in Turkey are thinking about shrinking their operations. Almost 80 percent of these companies have negative predictions for Turkey's economy following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The former co-chair of Germany’s Green Party Cem Özdemir, who is of Turkish descent, tested positive for the coronavirus, he said in a Tweet on March 19. “I’m okay and no one should worry about me,” Özdemir said in a video he published on Twitter.
Germany will not accept refugees from any country, including Turkey, amid the coronavirus epidemic, the Interior Ministry announced on March 18. Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter said programs on refugee resettlement will resume "when possible."
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Şenay Aydemir writes: It seems like Netflix, rather than providing resources to Turkey and contributing to the advancement of the sector, chooses to work with producers that already have a strong share in the market. Though the Netflix Turkey team claims they are open to all kinds of projects and ideas, they are obviously more open to certain ideas, projects and production companies.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
Politics
As Turkey's economic recession deepens, with major problems such as high unemployment and inflation and the devaluation of the Turkish lira worsened by the coronavirus epidemic, suicide rates due to economic reasons have spiked.
A Turkish court acquitted a father of sexual abuse charges because the child's virginity "remained intact." The father of the six-year-old survivor is currently serving an aggravated life sentence for the femicide of his wife. As a result of the sexual abuse charges' elimination, the assailant could get a discount in his murder sentence, as the woman now appears to have made "false" accusations.
Recidivism is high among youth criminals in Turkey as more than half of released minors eventually end up back in prison due to a lack of opportunities and support structures upon their release, said the Youth Re-autonomy Foundation of Turkey (TÇYÖV).
As countless stray animals live difficult lives on the streets of Istanbul, the city municipality has teamed up with an animal rights activist to develop an sophisticated app aimed at meeting the needs of the city's street animals and finding them permanent homes.
A budget proposal for 2021 that Vice President Fuat Oktay presented to parliament allocated funds to purchase hundreds of vehicles for government agencies as the country's economy remains strained. The Turkish Lira has been depreciating consistently since the beginning of the year, resisting state intervention as Ankara's international reserves shrink.
Turkish Parliament has received 25 new summaries of proceedings against 11 HDP lawmakers. If Parliament votes to strip the deputies of their immunity from prosecution, they will be tried by Turkish courts.
Hate speech and threats against Armenians in Turkey have accelerated following the outbreak of clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. HDP MP Garo Paylan, himself a Turkish-Armenian, has been targeted for his insistence on a ceasefire. "We can conclude that there will be no favorable results from this war--which has caused loss and destruction on both sides—and that the solution is on the peace table," Paylan said.
Turkey's top medical association has said that 143,000 coronavirus patients are currently treated at their homes, whereas 460,000 others have been placed under mandatory home quarantine. The Turkish Medical Association made the remarks based on the results of a survey conducted with family physicians across the country.
A report penned by CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu has said that 29 journalists, writers and publishers have received jail terms during January-September period of this year, 20 of whom have been arrested. "The animosity against journalists that is on the rise during the AKP rule is due to the government's stance against freedom of press,” Tanrıkulu said.
A group of university students and alumni are requesting that the Credit and Dormitories Agency (KYK) annul all loans. Currently, some five million Turkish university students are in debt to the state-run KYK, and 300,000 face prosecution for not being able to pay back the debt.
The lira sank to a record low to near 8 versus the dollar after Turkey’s central bank ignored investors' calls to raise its main interest rate. The decision to leave the rate unchanged prompted economists to question the central bank’s commitment to lowering inflation and its independence from the government.
Putin said on Oct. 22 Russia and Turkey disagree about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but emphasized strong ties between Moscow and Ankara. Erdoğan "might seem tough, but is a flexible politician and reliable partner for Russia," Putin said.
A 24-year-old woman was shot dead by her brother in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, news portal Jinnews reported on Oct. 21. Meanwhile, a local court discounted a femicide assailant's sentence on "good behavior," adding to the list of killers that Turkish courts are lenient toward.
Protesting miners from around Turkey were promised a solution within 10 days during an Oct. 21 meeting with Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group Deputy Chairwoman Özlem Zengin. Hundreds of miners started marching to the capital earlier this month, as survivors of the Soma Mining Disaster are yet to receive damages, and workers in Ermenek have 13 months of unpaid wages.
A newly passed legislation will allow ministries to veil their budget items as they submit their budget proposals to parliament. This means that they are no longer obliged to make it public how much is paid to private contractors for projects.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has confirmed that Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems were tested last week, as he also dismissed NATO allies' concerns on the issue. Akar also said that the S-400 won’t be integrated into NATO’s command-and-control infrastructure, but rather "used as a standalone system similar to the use of Russian-made S-300 weapons that exist within NATO."
Turkey's Health Ministry will regulate the administration of flu shots through the online government portal as supplies will fall short of soaring demand. Patients will need to obtain prescriptions from their family practitioner, report to a pharmacy with their prescription. Pharmacies will be supplied shots only after receipt of a prescription.
The AKP and its ally MHP on Oct. 21 rejected the HDP's demand to investigate what really unfolded during the 2014 Kobane protests for the 10th time. The HDP's demand came after dozens of its members, including co-mayors of the eastern province of Kars, were arrested over the protests six years later earlier this month.
A bus assistant in Turkey sexually harassed a 17-year-old passenger on a trip with Metro Turizm vehicle, notorious for sexual assault incidents. The company told an Instagram user who shared footage of the assault that the worker was uninsured, and asked them to remove the video.
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.
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
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
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.