Gezi Park
An Istanbul court on Sept. 15 rejected the acquittal plea of seven defendants in a case related to the 2013 Gezi Park protests. Nine of the sixteen civil society figures were acquitted of all the charges in a hearing on Feb. 18, but the case of seven defendants - who are abroad and are being tried in absentia - was separated.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has described Turkey's 2013 Gezi Park protest movement as "one of the most important struggles of the Turkish history.” "If we are visiting here today [Gezi Park], protecting the green and saying 'let's create human-centered squares,' maybe we are materializing the spirit that wanted to be put forward there [during Gezi Park protests],” İmamoğlu said.
There is a need for a segment that will wear the outfit shown at the podium in Hagia Sophia in neighborhoods. The soul and the spirit that has been infused into the AKP government has to have reciprocity in the streets. The sword at the Hagia Sophia mosque opening will turn into a stick if needed.
Demolishing old distilleries and turning them into Islamic culture centers, alone, has its challenging symbolism, just by itself. It symbolizes the intolerance toward a lifestyle, the tension trying to be kept alive by setting cultural differences in Turkey against each other.
A thousand words were said for philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala to mark his 1,000th day of imprisonment on July 27. "Conscience and just" topped the list via being written 48 times, which were followed by "humble and humility."
Emel Korkmaz, the mother of a 19-year-old teenager who was killed during the Gezi Park protests of 2013, said that she still struggles to accept that her son will not come back. “I still can't see him in my dreams. I want him to say 'My dear mother, I'm fine.' Seven years ago he was resilient, but while hoping that he would come back, he lost his life,” she said of her son Ali İsmail Korkmaz.
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry will be turning the iconic Galata Tower into a museum. The ministry will also launch a "culture route" that spans from the tower, along Istiklal Avenue and to Taksim Square. Minister Ersoy also said that the construction of the AKM would be completed within a month, ongoing since February 2019.
A U.S.-based documentary maker produced a 10-minute opera about jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala and his pet snails. The human rights activist and businessman has been imprisoned for nearly a thousand days, and adopted two snails as pets in prison. The volunteers recorded the opera from remote locations, only to be mixed together later.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has put the case into the killing of 14-year-old Berkin Elvan in process and asked Turkey a number of questions, including those related to the violation of the right to life. The court asked the reason for why the criminal responsibility was laid solely on a police officer and why the demand to prosecute government officials was rejected.
Ankara police on June 1 attacked a commemoration ceremony held to mark the death anniversary of Ethem Sarısülük, who was shot by a police officer during Gezi Park protests in 2013. The police detained 21 of the people in the ceremony, all of whom were later released.
Turkish main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu shared a video on social media to commemorate the seventh anniversary of Turkey's historic Gezi protests of 2013. The CHP leader read a poem by Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet to show solidarity with the protests, which started off with an environmental message but quickly became an anti-government movement.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş released a message on the seventh year anniversary of the Gezi Park protests, saying: “Gezi Resistance is not over, is continuing and we will definitely win it.”
Thousands of Twitter users have marked the seventh anniversary of Gezi Park protests on May 31 via sharing pictures and quotes from the landmark demonstrations, while also commemorating those killed by police. Initially centered in Istanbul, the protests spread to all over Turkey starting from June 1, as millions took to the streets to raise their voices against police brutality and government policies. It turned into the largest wave of protests against the government in Turkey's history.
Yiğit O. Özdemir writes: Today, what we know of as Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue was originally called Grande Rue de Pera. It is where decisions are made, especially when it comes to how and with which tools will “urban plunder” be managed. Mechanisms of consent and resistance are formed here. The victories and defeats of campaigns about urban space happen here.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the May 27 police killing of black Minneapolis resident George Floyd in a series of tweets. The president said the mentality that killed Floyd was "racist and fascist" and condemned the "inhumane mentality." Turkey has been experiencing a period of increased police violence since the 2013 anti-government Gezi protests when more than 20 people were killed.
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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
The Turkish government's restrictions on card and board games are hurting business for old-fashioned coffee houses. Old-fashioned coffeehouses are an important part of social life, especially for retired and unemployed men in Turkey, and board and card games are among the primary activities.
Amnesty International has called on Turkey to investigate the throwing of two men from a military helicopter in the eastern province of Van. It also said that it's very concerned on the "allegations of torture and mistreatment," adding that international human rights law and standards must ensure that Turkey prevents torture under all circumstances.
Greece on Sept. 27 called on Turkey to condemn and investigate what it said was an "insult" to its national flag on the Greek island of Kastellorizo. "We expect Turkish authorities to immediately condemn and investigate the incident, so that the culprits are brought before justice," it said. "Such unacceptable actions only seek to torpedo prospects for easing tensions between the two countries."
HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan has called on Future Party leader and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to "speak the truth" about October 2014 Kobane protests a day after 20 HDP members were detained. "Now is the time to speak the truth. I think it's important for people who were in the government at the time and who know what unfolded to speak," Buldan said.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that coronavirus (COVID-19) positive individuals will wear electronic bracelets while under quarantine as a measure against violating quarantine rules. The ministry is evaluating two options regarding the bracelet and both options include alarming authorities if breaches take place.
Members of the European Parliament have condemned the latest crackdown on pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Kati Piri said that the Turkish government's move is “another step backwards pushing Turkey even further away from the EU,” while Nacho Sánchez Amor said that Turkish authorities seem “determined to establish some kind of overall retroactive state of emergency in order to further suppress opposition and any critical voices.”
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that he is very proud of his son who is doing his military service on the Greek-Turkish border. “Very proud father! I’m sorry that, due to Covid, I could not come to Alexandroupolis to brag about you!” said Mitsotakis Instagram on Sept. 25.
Istanbul Medical Chamber said on Sept. 25 that a healthcare worker who warned a patient's relative to put his mask on was beaten. Prof. Dr. Tufan Tükek, dean of Istanbul University’s Çapa Medical Faculty, said that the health worker named Rıfat Babayiğit might suffer a permanent vision loss due to the attack.
A deputy of the main opposition CHP has criticized the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) after a video footage showing a child being battered at a Quran course has surfaced. CHP MP Ali Öztunç called on Diyanet head to enlighten the incident, while also indicating that he does not believe the explanation of the district governor's office that the 10-year-old child was beaten by a 15-year-old child attending the same course.
The Surp Sarkis Armenian Church in Diyarbakır's Sur district, which is on the verge of destruction, is being targeted in recent years by treasure hunters. HDP deputy Garo Paylan said that the government's policy toward the church is a “purposeful neglect” for the memory of the Armenians in the city to be wiped away and called on the authorities to take the necessary measures for the protection of the church.
The Health Ministry has issued a new circular concerning the temporary supplementary payments given during the coronavirus epidemic. As per the new circular, doctors will get up to 50 percent increase in their coronavirus bonuses, whereas Diyanet personnel responsible for handling the deceased' bodies will get a 100 percent increase in their additional payments.
Turkey is trying to procure European-made air defense systems and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to drop his opposition to co-production of Eurosam SAMP/T air missile systems, Elysee sources told Bloomberg. Macron reportedly told Erdoğan that Turkey must clarify its objectives in northern Syria before the request could be considered.
The spokesperson of Turkey's Justice Ministry has said that Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation into Salafi associations which are alleged to be taking up arms as part of their preparations to fight in the country. The investigation comes after Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, a popular preacher from the İsmailağa order of Naqshbandi Sufis, warned the government that there are 2,000 Salafi associations in Turkey which are preparing for a civil war.
A Turkish court on Sept. 25 banned access to the website of daily Yeni Yaşam newspaper. The reason of the access ban is not yet known.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said on Sept. 25 that summary of proceedings will be prepared against seven HDP deputies in order for their immunities to be lifted over 2014 Kobane protests. The deputies in question were the HDP's Central Executive Board (MYK) members during Kobane protests, the prosecutor's office said.
Turkey's opposition parties have criticized the detention of HDP members CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel deemed the detentions "an intimidation operation" and asked the government whether new evidence was reached regarding the Kobane protests that happened six years ago. According to Özel, the recent detentions are attempts of the government to shift people's focus from the crumbling economy.
A group of opposition politicians slammed the construction of a 90-million-lira prison with a lake view in the eastern province of Van which government officials deemed "an investment." The opposition noted that the region has far more pressing needs than prisons and that hundreds of jails have been already built in recent years in Turkey.
Economy
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.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Urban Beat
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.
Heavy presence of the Asian tiger mosquito was detected in four Istanbul districts, concerning locals as the bug can carry malaria, the Zika virus and encephalitis. The invasive species have been increasing in population around Istanbul in the past decade, an Istanbul University veterinarian said.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.