Grup Yorum
Jailed journalist Barış Terkoğlu has said that the lack of the right to a fair trial is a common complaint in Turkey, as he voiced support to jailed lawyer Ebru Timtik, who has been on a death fast with the demand to be tried fairly. "We should be against terror and all the acts that eliminate human life. However, we should know that what differentiates between terrorists and lawyers is the balance of law," he said.
The Istanbul Governor's Office said on June 1 that they had not permitted a concert by Grup Yorum, refuting an announcement by the leftist band. Two of Grup Yorum's members died recently after death fasts to demand that the bans on the band's concerts are lifted and terrorism charges against members are removed.
It’s a spring day in Athens. Over 120 Greek musicians and performers gather on the steps of the southern slope of the Acropolis to sing in Turkish. They gathered to express their solidarity with the Turkish protest band Grup Yorum.
More than 120 Greek musicians have expressed their solidarity with Grup Yorum, a leftwing popular music group banned in Turkey. The Greek musicians sang Turkish ethnic/folkloric band Kardeş Türküler's song "Tencere Tava Havasi (The Sound of Pots and Pans), which was inspired by citizens' beating on pots and pans to express their discontent towards the government during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.
Turkey's Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) has launched an investigation into an İzmir judge after he expressed his sadness about Grup Yorum member İbrahim Gökçek's death. The HSK's move came after it put another İzmir judge on suspension for the same reason.
A Turkish judge who is under fire for supporting İbrahim Gökçek, who who died on May 7 at a hospital two days after ending his death fast that lasted for 323 days, said that there is nothing more natural than defending the right to life. "I advocate the right to life for everyone. This is a constitutional right and must be defended by everyone," Judge Ayşe Sarısu Pehlivan said.
A far-right group has attempted to attack the grave of Grup Yorum member İbrahim Gökçek in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, saying that they will burn the body as soon as police leaves the area. "We don't want a terrorist's grave. Police will wait for a couple of days and then will leave. When they're gone, we will take the body out of the grave and burn it," the group said late on May 10.
Police have fired tear gas on mourners during the funeral ceremony of musician İbrahim Gökçek, a member of Grup Yorum who died on May 7 at a hospital two days after ending his death fast that lasted for 323 days, while also taking his body away from the cemevi. Grup Yorum later said that his family took the body back and was heading to Kayseri for the burial under police escort.
İbrahim Gökçek, a member of Grup Yorum who ended his 323-day-long death fast two days ago, died at a hospital on May 7. Gökçek had been on a death fast with a number of demands, including the ban on their concerts to be lifted, the removal of the group's members' names from terror lists and the raids of İdil Culture Center, where the group carries out its works, to be stopped.
İbrahim Gökçek ended his death fast on the 323rd day on May 5 and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Grup Yorum announced that Gökçek ended his death fast "since the resistance have reached a political victory." "The entire world learned about this resistance. We gained a political victory and talks are going positive," the group said.
In 2019, Freemuse registered 33 serious violations of artistic freedom of expression in Turkey, including putting nine artists behind bars. "The Turkish government was the main violator of artistic freedom and primarily executed the violations under the rationales of counterterrorism and protecting the state," the prominent NGO said.
HDP deputies have prepared a video clip showing themselves performing a song of Grup Yorum in an attempt to show solidarity with group member İbrahim Gökçek, who is in his 322nd day of hunger strike. HDP Leyla Güven says in the video clip that the banned folk music group should be allowed to resume its concerts and that jailed band members should be released.
Death fasting musician İbrahim Gökçek's father Ahmet Gökçek said that his son wants to live and urged people to raise their voices to save him. "İbrahim has been on a death fast for 315 days. His situation is critical. He is mentally very strong and has been resisting. He can also follow the current events and can talk to us. He was deeply shook when his friends died, but continues his struggle with resistance," he said.
Grup Yorum's Helin Bölek has died on the 288th day of her death fast in Istanbul, the group said on April 3. Thousand of people took to Twitter to share messages of condolences, including HDP deputies and CHP deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, with many criticizing the government and asking whether their demands were so hard to meet that she was left to die.
İbrahim Gökçek and Helin Bölek, two members of Grup Yorum who have been on a death fast with the demand for the ban on their concerts to be lifted for 268 and 265 days, respectively, were taken to a hospital by police officers, prompting concerns on whether a forced intervention process is underway. "No one can silence Grup Yorum. It's either victory or death," Gökçek said.
Editor's Picks
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Murat Yetkin writes: What Abdul Hamid II established, the Yıldız Intelligence Organization, was not a national institution but a personal intelligence organization. The leader who established the first national intelligence organization in Turkey was Atatürk, whom Erdoğan did not feel the need to mention.
Politics
Irish energy giant Eaton Corporation said that they ended their working relationship with Turkish distributor Berg Elektrik upon news that the latter's general manager Alp Erkin had shot and killed their neighbor's dog. While Erkin claimed he killed Nero because the dog bit his wife, Nero's owner noted that the animal was trying to protect its keeper.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said that more than 200,000 passengers arrived in Turkey during the month of June, when Turkish Airlines recommenced international flights. The minister failed to answer a question about layoffs within the country's flagship carrier.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 30 the United States was continuing to evaluate how it would respond to Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems. "We continue to evaluate how to apply sanctions in order to achieve our end objective," Pompeo said.
A group of seven-eight unidentified Turkish citizens on July 26 battered six Syrian children under the age of 18 in Hatay's Kırıkhan district. The local governor's office on July 30 announced that an investigation was launched into the incident and two of the children are receiving treatment at hospital.
An Ankara court has reversed a ban on a gay pride march that was imposed by ODTÜ rectorate in May 2019. The court said that the rectorate's decision had no legal basis as the all-embracing ban enacted by the Ankara Governor's Office in 2017 had been already lifted.
Students enrolled in the Kurdish language departments of universities in Turkey will no longer be allowed to submit their dissertations in Kurdish. Former academic Selim Temo has also announced that from now on, all lectures at these departments will be conducted only in Turkish.
The area in the Hagia Sophia where emperors used to be coronated was left exposed when carpeting was installed in the structure to prepare it for Muslim prayer, Istanbul Culture and Tourism Director Coşkun Yılmaz said. The former museum was opened to Muslim worship on July 24, holding the first mass prayer in decades.
Dozens of celebrities all over the world, including Ellie Goulding, Christina Aguilera, Milla Jovovich and many more, have posted black and white pictures of themselves to voice solidarity with victims of femicides in Turkey. The trend began after women in Turkey said that they don't want to see their pictures in black and white in newspapers after they are killed.
No Turkish teams will be relegated from the Süper Lig after a season impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, Turkish Football Federation chairman Nihat Özdemir said on July 29. He added that the Süper Lig's new foreign player restrictions would also not apply for the 2020-21 season.
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield and his family visited Hagia Sophia to see the restoration works carried out at the site after its conversion into a mosque. "Ambassador Satterfield toured Hagia Sophia to admire its grandeur and technical genius, and better understand the renovation and restoration work to be completed to preserve the universal value of and continued access to this monumental building," the embassy said on July 30.
A district governor's office in Ankara ordered the municipality to transfer any donations they collected for COVID-19 relief to the central government for public use. The donation campaign by the main opposition municipality had been suspended on March 31 on the grounds that any aid would be carried out by the central government.
The bar head of the border province of Hatay, Ekrem Dönmez, has said that he filed a complaint against police officers who detained him by force in the province's İskenderun district. "We have to decide whether we are a police state or a state of law. We're going through a process that all the critical voices are suppressed. Yesterday's incident is linked to that," Dönmez told reporters on July 30.
Some 20,000 books went missing from the National Library of Turkey in 2019, a main opposition deputy claimed in a parliamentary question. CHP deputy Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi also said that materials at the National Library that weren't books had decreased in number.
Google is preparing to remove shopping ads from search results in Turkey, which come up at the very top of the page almost anytime that a “shopping-related” search is done. The move comes following the Turkish Competition Authority's ruling earlier this year that the company is obstructing competitors’ activities in the online shopping services market.
The Syrian government will build a replica of the Hagia Sophia that will operate as an Orthodox cathedral, in protest of the Turkish government's move to convert the iconic structure into a mosque, according to various media reports. A Russian lawmaker said that Moscow will provide funding for the project to show the importance of “peaceful dialogue” between faiths.
Turkey's Presidential Digital Transformation Office has banned public officials from using foreign messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Telegram, for work purpose, citing security issues. "If a certain institution doesn't have its own communication application, the local and national applications of which the providers are in Turkey must be preferred," a guide prepared by the office said.
Istanbul's Beşiktaş district is displaying billboards that urge viewers to read the Istanbul Convention, an international document that provides women with legal protection against domestic violence and discrimination. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) recently suggested Turkey might recuse from the document, causing public outcry.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu was ranked the most successful mayor in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in a recent survey by private poller SONAR Research. Imamoğlu was followed by Izmir Mayor Tunç Soyer, also from main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).
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
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.
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.