Islamists in Turkey
Gerçek Hayat, a magazine owned by a pro-government media group, has called for the establishment of caliphate in Turkey. "Hagia Sophia and Turkey are free now," the cover page read. "If not now, when? If not you, who? Get together for a caliphate," it added.
A group of fundamentalists have marched on Istanbul's streets after praying at Hagia Sophia. Footage on Twitter showed men in robes chanting "God is great" as they marched.
Thousands of people flocked to Istanbul's Hagia Sophia for the first Friday prayers at the site. On July 24, the interior echoed to the sound of Koranic recitations from clerics, sat on blue carpets freshly laid this week ahead of the prayers.
A report prepared by a group of Islamists to urge President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, which aims to combat violence against women, includes archaic remarks on gender. According to the report, the convention aims to damage the religious, social and cultural codes of the society and weaken the institution of family rather than providing gender equality.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been seeking ways to amend the Istanbul Convention via sending a letter of intention that includes its objections. Women's rights groups continue to slam the debate on the convention and requested a meeting with President Erdoğan and AKP lawmakers.
The interim secretary-general of the World Council of Churches, Ioan Sauca, has penned a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to express his “grief and dismay” over Turkey's decision to change the status of Istanbul's landmark Hagia Sophia from a museum to a mosque. "I am obliged to convey to you the grief and dismay of the World Council of Churches – and of its 350 member churches in more than 110 countries, representing more than half a billion Christians around the world – at the step you have just taken," Sauca said.
Diyanet head Ali Erbaş has urged the opening of of an Islamic school in Hagia Sophia following its conversion into a mosque on July 10. "I think the decision is very meaningful. May it host a lot of worshippers. Praying in it is not enough, there should be a madrasah [Islamic school] in it," Erbaş said on July 11 in the Black Sea province of Rize.
Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia museum should be converted into a common place of worship, wrote Turkey's Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Şahak Maşalyan (Şahak II) in a tweet over the weekend. “I think it is more appropriate that it takes on the disposition of a place of worship for the faithful who are on their knees praying in submission God, rather than curious tourists running from here to there to take photographs,” Maşalyan said.
Islamist TV commentator Sevda Noyan who had claimed her family would kill 50 plotters if a coup attempt was ever repeated is facing three to six years in prison. Noyan had said that she had neighbors she'd deemed plotters and even a list of people she'd target.
Turkish police detained an Iranian man for hanging a towel with a U.K. flag design on his balcony in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri on May 19, which is the day that the country celebrates the Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day, following complaints by the residents of the neighborhood. The man was detained as the people cheered and applauded police.
The student houses of an Islamic foundation led by a figure known with being critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will be shut down, the foundation said on May 15, adding that the decision was adopted after statements critical of the government by the group's founder and leader, Alparslan Kuytul, who has been urging authorities to reopen mosques for Friday prayers despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Mesut Özdemir, the head of an Islamist association, has said that men can break their fasts during Ramadan by having sex with their wives "if they miss them so much." "Let me tell you, maybe you'll find it weird. A person can break his fast by having sex with his wife if he missed her so much. This exists in the Islamic law," Özdemir said during a TV show titled "Believer Youth" aired in the fundamentalist Akit TV.
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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
Former MHP deputy Cemal Enginyurt has said it was him who started the legal process that led to the cancellation of a dissident-led congress back in 2016 aiming to challenge the leadership of Devlet Bahçeli. “When Meral Akşener won the congress with 715 votes on June 19, it was me who took the case to the court. It was me that led to the cancellation of the congress, which they had won," Enginyurt said on Aug. 5.
Good (İYİ) Party leader Meral Akşener has said that the majority of the Turkish people want to return to a parliamentary system, adding that the current "freakish" system can't govern the country. "Turkey's economy has worsened, the youth doesn't have hope to find jobs, agriculture and industry have collapsed. The people are suffering from not being able to find food and fear being unemployed," she said.
Twitter has announced that it is introducing a new label for government officials and state-backed media organisations to help users make informed decisions. The labels will initially be added to officials representing the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – Russia, China, France, the UK, and the US, the company said.
Turkish women did four times as much household and care work as men during lockdowns aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), research supported by the United Nations Development Programme showed on Aug. 6. The gender gap in paid work narrowed under lockdown as a result of changes in work patterns and a fall in men's paid work hours, the research found.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said that "a secret organization within the state brings its agenda into action step by step via planned operations." "We need to state what has been going on in the country properly. The constitutional order is being changed and an authoritarian regime is being constructed. This is not carried out through open political methods only," Demirtaş said.
Turkey’s Interior Ministry has declared a document circulating on social media claiming that a curfew would be imposed this weekend as fake news. Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı on Aug. 6 urged the people not to be misled by such “fake documents whose origins are unknown.”
The governor's office in the eastern province of Van has said that a video that purported to show final moments of migrants doesn't belong to the Lake Van tragedy. It also said that they contacted an Afghan national believed to be the person who owned the video, who reportedly told the office that he received the video from someone else.
Only 25 percent of the Turkish public has trust in the presidency, according to a recent poll from the ArtıBir research company. Some 17.3 percent of those polled said that they did not have trust in any of the country's institutions, while the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was the most trusted institution with the confidence of 38.2 percent of those responding to the poll.
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.
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.