Kurdistan Workers Party
A Turkish criminal court in southeastern Turkey ruled that displaying the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) flag didn't qualify as propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), dubbed a terrorist organization by Ankara. The court noted that the KRG was recognized as a federal state in the Iraqi constitution, and should therefore be distinguished from any terrorist activity.
A Turkish army strike on PJAK militants in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq in late June 2020 failed to take adequate precautions to minimize civilian casualties, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on July 22. “The Turkish military strike on opposition fighters in a resort area seriously injured several civilians and could have harmed many more,” said Belkıs Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher at Human Rights Watch.
A Turkish court sentenced German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel in absentia on July 16 to jail for 2 years and 9 months for terrorism propaganda, his lawyer said. The court ruled that he was not guilty of sedition or of spreading propaganda for the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Seven police officers were killed after their reconnaissance plane crashed in a mountain in the eastern province of Van, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said early July 16. The 2015 model-plane had been carrying out reconnaissance and surveillance in Van and Hakkari provinces since July 13, said Soylu.
Iraqi President Barham Salih said on July 8 that neighboring Turkey must suspend its recent offensive against alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and disputed territories of Iraq. Salih “reiterated that Turkey has to suspend its military violations on the Iraqi soil."
Attending a demonstration can't be a proof of terrorist organization membership, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in the case of four applicants from Turkey. The applicants faced the said accusation for attending a demonstration in 2008, with the ECHR saying that their rights to freedom of assembly were violated.
A prosecutor has deemed sending regards to former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş as a proof of "terrorist organization membership." "Send my regards to Selahattin and other friends," Arslan told a lawyer set to visit Demirtaş and other former HDP deputies Abdullah Zeydan and Sebahat Tuncel in prison.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar has said that the calls on the party to distance itself from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) are "unfounded" because the party "has no links" to the militant group. "The issue is not distancing ourselves because we have no relations and there won't be," Sancar said, while asking, "So if the HDP is an extension of the PKK, six million people voted for the PKK. Will you accept that?"
Baghdad on June 18 demanded that Ankara immediately halt its military operations in northern Iraq where Turkish special forces and helicopters have been targeting the PKK. Ankara, however, plans to set up more temporary military bases in northern Iraq, a senior Turkish official told Reuters, saying the effort would ensure border security.
Turkey is blocking the implementation of new defense plans for eastern Europe in NATO over the status of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), German Press Agency reported on June 15. Turkey wants the YPG and the PYD to be designated as terrorist organizations in exchange for its support.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have carried out airstrikes on Iraq's Sinjar as part of an operation called "Claw-Eagle." Defense Minister Hulusi Akar directed operation from the Air Force Command Control Center alongside Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler, Land Forces Commander Gen. Ümit Dündar, Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan Küçükakyüz and Naval Forces Commander Adnan Özbal.
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.
Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) said on May 26 that they will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the United Nations over the burial of bodies belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants under sidewalks in Istanbul after being taken from the Kurdish-dominated southeastern province of Bitlis. "This is a severe rights violation," said one of the lawyers from the association.
Turkey's Constitutional Court (AYM) ruled that ten prisoners' right to free communication was violated when their letters were confiscated. The letters had been about rights violations in prisons in Turkey, and had been confiscated on the grounds that they were detrimental to the prisons.
İYİ Party spokesperson Yavuz Ağıralioğlu said that his party didn't consult the HDP in the past, as he called on Sırrı Süreyya Önder to prove his claims. "We don't have anyone who can meet with the group that fails to acknowledge that the PKK are murderers. We didn't have any direct or indirect contact with the HDP. If someone from our party met with the HDP, Önder should name him," Ağıralioğlu said.
Editor's Picks
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?
Nilüfer Bulut writes: Forced Islamization was one of the methods of survival during what Armenians call “Medz Yeghern,” the great catastrophe. Professor Zerrin Kurtoğlu Şahin says that by complying with the imposition of Islamization, these Armenians (mostly women and children) were assured their biological existence, but their cultural and social connections were ripped away.
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.