Italy
Northern Cyprus will be maintaining a requirement for travelers from Turkey to get tested both before their departure, and upon their arrival. Northern Cyprus placed Turkey in a medium-risk group along with Italy, Spain and France.
Turkey has carried out the largest anti-narcotics operation in its history, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on June 30, adding that it was conducted in cooperation with nine countries. "Traffic worth 500 million liras was prevented. It was the biggest operation in Turkey's history in terms of preventing income from drugs and crime," Soylu said.
Murat Yetkin writes: January 2020 was a turning point in terms of Turkish-Italian relations. It would soon become clear that this wasn’t limited to diplomatic relations. We now learned that the two countries were conducting a joint intelligence operation amid the COVID-19 epidemic. Nevertheless, the most evident aspect, at the time, had to do with diplomacy.
Silvia Constanza Romano, an Italian aid worker kidnapped in Kenya in November 2018, was rescued on Saturday in Somalia following an international effort that included the contributions of Turkey's National Intelligence Agency (MİT). The identity of the armed group that captured 25-year-old Romano is still not clear.
Retired goalie for the Turkish national soccer team Rüştü Reçber said that he underestimated the coronavirus, for which he received treatment in Italy, Italian daily Tuttomercato reported April 11. “This virus is serious, it’s no joke,” Reçber said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has praised Turkey for sending medical aid to Spain and Italy, the countries worst hit by the novel coronavirus in Europe, saying that he is proud to see NATO allies supporting each other through the alliance's disaster relief center. "#NATO solidarity in action: Turkey sending a cargo plane with medical supplies to Italy & Spain today to support our joint fight against #COVID19," said Stoltenberg on Twitter on April 1.
As the country that has suffered the highest number of deaths from the coronavirus epidemic, Italy is frequently used to compare the situation of other countries. Italian statistics experts talking to the BBC's Turkish service said that comparing Italy and Turkey is like comparing apples and oranges as the progression curve of the virus is not shaping out the same way in two countries.
Turkey has sent medical aid packages with Jalaluddin Rumi's words on to Italy and Spain, the countries worst hit by the novel coronavirus in Europe, to help their fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "There is hope after despair and many suns after darkness," read the banners placed on the aid packages.
A doctor at Izmir's Dokuz Eylül University has issued an apology to the public and to the government after a statement in which he said the number of cases of coronavirus and deaths caused by the virus in Turkey was worse than Italy's. The rector of the Dokuz Eylül University, former ruling Justice and Development Party deputy Nükhet Hotar, released a statement saying that Savran's statement had been misunderstood. Then Yusuf Savran released a new video in which he apologized to "elders in the state".
İrfan Aktan writes: Emrah Altındiş, an Assistant Professor at Boston College and an adjunct faculty at Harvard Medical School, warns that a “tsunami” is headed towards Turkey. Altındiş argues that Turkey was not taking the necessary precautions to slow its spread. According to Altındiş, the cities with high numbers of infected people should be on lockdown.
The Covid-19 will inevitably affect a much wider population, and Turkey’s limited testing is dramatic. Scientists, doctors unanimously urge for a radical testing procedure. In Istanbul, a city of 16 million, there are only four hospitals conducting tests. Meanwhile, states of emergency, strict restrictions and bans are anything but new in Turkey!
Gökçe Başbuğ writes: That the coronavirus first became an epidemic in East Asia gave other countries time to prepare. However, it is clear that this time was not used wisely. Unfortunately, while travel bans and city quarantines were imposed, aggressive testing methods were not developed, and the public was not informed in a transparent manner. Fortunately, it is still possible for countries like Turkey that are at the beginning of this process to learn lessons from South Korea's experience and take steps accordingly.
Is the first casualty of the coronavirus the European Union itself? There are now more confirmed cases of coronavirus globally than there are in China, and Europe has been defined as the “epicenter of epidemic crisis” by the World Health Organization. And when it comes to facing the crisis, it’s almost as though the European Union does not exist as an institution.
Deputies from opposition Good Party (İYİ Parti) have called for a lockdown amid a surge in numbers of coronavirus cases in Turkey. The deputies tweeted calls for Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca to initiate a lockdown as soon as possible to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus.
Vural Özdemir writes: Turkey has correctly adopted social distancing to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the assumption that the future COVID-19 cases can only come from outside Turkey or through their immediate contacts is not well founded. We are currently bleeding precious time to start broad testing. Each passing hour and day add to the risk to move from the linear to the exponential phase of virus spread, as seen in some countries like Italy.
Editor's Picks
Serdar Korucu writes: One of the topics that comes to mind when recalling the Ottoman legacy in Lebanon is the Armenian Genocide. Among the most important symbolic structures carrying the traces of 1915 in Lebanon is the Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias.
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.
Politics
The Arab Parliament expressed its readiness to work with Iraq to mobilize regional and international support to stop the Turkish attacks on the Iraqi soil, following the death of two Iraqi border guards as a result of a Turkish drone strike on Aug. 11. The Arab League similarly condemned the Turkish drone attack saying that Turkey's action is "a blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty."
Several women gathered in Ankara's Kurtuluş neighborhood and wanted to march towards the Kızılay Square in an attempt to read a press statement there in protest of the government’s plan to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. The women however faced a harsh police response, with several of them having been battered or detained.
Greek experts and politicians critical of the government have said that Athens has made a mistake with regards to the timing of the maritime deal that it struck with Egypt last week. They also accused Mitsotakis government of pursuing a “maximalist” and “very strict policy” in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.
World-famed Bollywood actor Aamir Khan stopped shooting his movie Laal Singh Chaddha, an adaption of the 1994 classic Forrest Gump, due to coronavirus outbreak in India. Khan now looks for alternative locations in Turkey to shoot his movie.
The World Bank issued its latest edition of the Turkey Economic Monitor (TEM) on Aug. 12, in which it pointed to the sharp drop in Turkey's Central Bank reserves. "Though short-term external debt obligations seem manageable, a growing current account deficit and the sharp decline in reserves have heightened external vulnerabilities," it said.
Turkey's main opposition CHP has disputed the official unemployment statistics, saying that the country's actual unemployment rate stands at 30.6 percent which corresponds to over 10.5 million people. CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak has said that this number of unemployed people is higher than the populations of 109 countries.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that demanding education in Kurdish shows captivity to imperialism, as he commented on Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu's remarks. "The fact that Davutoğlu talked about the Kurdish issue and mentioned education in mother tongue is a scandalous example of the extent that captivity to imperialism has reached," Bahçeli said in a written statement on Aug. 12.
İYİ Party leader Akşener on Aug. 12 paid a visit to DEVA chair Babacan to congratulate him for his new party. The two opposition leaders later held a press meeting, during which Babacan was asked if he would consider joining the People's Alliance of the AKP and MHP should such an offer come. "What we need to focus on is to complete the process of producing and [party] organization," Babacan said in response to the question.
Several human rights groups have penned a letter to the UN Human Rights Office asking the organization to urge the Turkish government not to discriminate against LGBTI+ individuals and to take necessary steps to protect the LGBTI+ community from any attacks.
Main opposition Istanbul Municipality revealed that the Culture Ministry's contract workers had been destroying walls of ancient Galata Tower. The historic building had been taken away from the municipality last 2019, and forced to be evacuated in April.
Iraq cancelled on Aug. 11 Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar's visit to the country which was scheduled for Aug. 13, Iraq's foreign ministry said in a statement following the death of two Iraqi border guards as a result of a Turkish drone strike. The ministry also summoned the Turkish ambassador to hand him "a strong protest note and inform him of Iraq’s confirmed rejection of his country's attacks and violations," the statement added.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has not confirmed whether Cemil Bayık, one of the leaders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was killed in a drone strike. "Our anti-terror operations are ongoing. Our advice to the whole world is for them to follow Turkey in terms of the struggle against terror," Soylu told reporters in the capital Ankara on Aug. 12 when asked to comment on the issue.
Turkey's Koç University presented a new research center that will work on vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases including for COVID-19, funded by commercial İşbank for an annual budget over five million Turkish Liras. The new center will also work on diagnosis and public health.
The deputy governor of southern province of Hatay on Aug. 11 shot and killed his mother and his brother in a brawl concerning inherited farming land. Tolga Polat was detained by police a few hours after he fled the scene. State-run Anadolu Agency reported on Aug. 12 that the deputy governor had been arrested by a court order.
Istanbul police on Aug. 5 raided Istanbul's İdil Culture Center where leftist folk band Grup Yorum carries out its musical works and detained five people there, including former hunger-striking academic Nuriye Gülmen. The People's Law Office announced on Aug. 11 that Gülmen was among the two who were arrested in the case.
Turkish Interior Ministry has sent a circular to 32 governors' offices warning them that PKK militants might be preparing to exchange a substantial amount of foreign currencies with Turkish liras to buy food and survival supplies for storage as part of their winter preparation plans.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin has said in a letter that neither Turkish nor Kurdish identity is something to brag about. "If you are to hang an identity around your neck, let it just read 'only human,'" read Demirtaş's letter, which was shared by his wife Başak Demirtaş.
The European Union has said that it's "extremely worried" about the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Also on Aug. 11, Turkish Coast Guard Command announced that three people were injured when Greek navy opened fire on a private boat off the coast of Muğla.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) didn't ask to borrow money from Turkey, former Central Bank head Durmuş Yılmaz said to refute President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's claim. "This is a lie. The issue is technical. In short, the IMF didn't ask to borrow money from us. A commitment was made to a contingency fund and it wasn't realized. The proof: There is no such record on the Central Bank balance," Yılmaz tweeted on Aug. 11.
Economy
Goldman Sachs revised its periodic forecasts for the Turkish lira, anticipating that it will continue to fall and will reach 8.25 to the dollar by next year. The lira has been the world's second-worst performing currency thus far this month, dropping four percent for a total of an 18 percent decline in 2020.
Some 40 percent of youth aged between 25-29 are financially dependent on their parents, said a deputy of main opposition CHP. "Some 40 percent of our 6.1 million young people in the age group of 25-29, i.e. 2.5 million, are neither in unemployment nor in education. Due to the ruling government's policies, our youth in this age group are unfortunately living in a way that is depending on their parents,” Veli Ağbaba said.
Economist and former Treasury advisor Mahfi Eğilmez has said that the Turkish economy is no longer predictable. "In an unpredictable economy, due to the fact the risks increase, this means that expenses will also increase,” Eğilmez wrote in a column on Aug. 5.
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.
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.