sexual assault
Turkey’s parliament stripped independent lawmaker Tuma Çelik's immunity from prosecution, a move that paves the way for him to stand trial with regards to rape charges. Çelik was expelled from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in July.
The head of the state-run Turkey Human Rights and Equality Institution (TIHEK) defended underage marriages, and said that they should be differentiated from sexual assault. "People shouldn't be tried over shameful crimes just because they got married young," Süleyman Arslan said.
The family of a 12-year-old rape survivor have been receiving threats from the Islamic cult whose leader they reported for sexual assault, the child's father said. While the house is placed under police surveillance, the cult have told the father he "betrayed" them for reporting the assault on his daughter.
Turkey's Constitutional Court (AYM) ruled that a woman's right to protection was violated when courts dragged on an abortion proceeding, resulting in the woman having to give birth. The woman had been petitioning to terminate a pregnancy that resulted from a sexual assault she survived as a minor.
Clinical psychologist Murat Paker was convicted on charges of sexual assault against one of his patients in 2019. “In the trial, some of his colleagues displayed tremendous solidarity with the defendant," said lawyer Esra Baş Erbaş. Figures in academia who doubted the validity of the victim's claims should engage in a process of self-criticism, lawyer Hülya Gülbahar argued.
A woman died in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir after witnessing a sexual assault on her daughter for several times. The rape survivor insists her mother's death was suspicious and says no legal action has been taken regarding her lawsuit despite her report of four cousins' systematic abuse.
A children's tale in Turkey was slammed by a columnist for using storylines and expressions that normalize rape and violence. A child psychologist noted that reading this content would normalize violence in children's minds.
A Turkish Parliament commission on Aug. 24 penned a report suggesting the lifting of the parliamentary immunity of former HDP lawmaker Tuma Çelik, who faces allegations of raping a woman. The general assembly of Parliament will later vote to decide whether to strip Çelik of his immunity, paving the way for his prosecution.
Turkey's Human Rights Association (İHD) observed dozens of deaths caused by rights violations in the first six months of 2020. Fourteen women were killed by men, two inmates died in prison and three law enforcement officers were found dead under suspicious conditions in the southeast.
Hale Gönültaş reports: A Yazidi woman who has been in captivity since 2014 was rescued from a home in Ankara. Abducted by an ISIS member in Iraq, the young woman was trafficked, eventually being tracked down by a family member.
A Turkish public prosecutor ruled sexual assault threats against journalist Nevşin Mengü, politician Canan Kaftancıoğlu, lawyer Feyza Altun and actress Berna Laçin were "harsh criticism." The court said they didn't have legal grounds to prosecute the defendant for making a threat.
Good Party (İYİ Parti) leader Meral Akşener said that the sexual harassment of Başak Demirtaş on social media, wife of former co-chair of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), was caused by the government's indifference toward such crimes. Noting that crimes of such nature wouldn't stop until the government took a clear stance against it, Akşener urged President Erdoğan to take action.
Some 215 women’s rights organizations started a campaign that urges parliament to eliminate all amnesty bills that could pardon sexual offenders of minors before they enter their summer break. Although there are currently no amnesty bills targeting this demographic, the platform of women’s organizations say that they find politicians’ comments that one will be drafted soon "concerning."
Turkish main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) filed complaints about social media trolls who made sexual assault threats to CHP Istanbul Chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu. The comments against Kaftancıoğlu came after she defended Başak Demirtaş, the wife of jailed former co-chair of pro-Kurdish Democratic People's Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş, who had just been the target of similar attacks.
Aynur Tekin reports: Seventy two criminal complaints have been filed against Burak Özdemir, a man residing in the Mediterranean province of Mersin, for blackmailing, threatening and sexually assaulting women after hacking into their social media accounts. In spite of the numerous complaints, Özdemir is not currently behind bars.
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Şenay Aydemir writes: It seems like Netflix, rather than providing resources to Turkey and contributing to the advancement of the sector, chooses to work with producers that already have a strong share in the market. Though the Netflix Turkey team claims they are open to all kinds of projects and ideas, they are obviously more open to certain ideas, projects and production companies.
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Ankara's conflict-oriented foreign policy has received the public's support for military operations, but public opinion often fails to translate into votes. While Ankara's "enemy" in military conflict is ever-changing, the northern Syria conflict was revealed to be the only intervention that expanded the government's voter base.
Politics
As Turkey's economic recession deepens, with major problems such as high unemployment and inflation and the devaluation of the Turkish lira worsened by the coronavirus epidemic, suicide rates due to economic reasons have spiked.
A Turkish court acquitted a father of sexual abuse charges because the child's virginity "remained intact." The father of the six-year-old survivor is currently serving an aggravated life sentence for the femicide of his wife. As a result of the sexual abuse charges' elimination, the assailant could get a discount in his murder sentence, as the woman now appears to have made "false" accusations.
Recidivism is high among youth criminals in Turkey as more than half of released minors eventually end up back in prison due to a lack of opportunities and support structures upon their release, said the Youth Re-autonomy Foundation of Turkey (TÇYÖV).
As countless stray animals live difficult lives on the streets of Istanbul, the city municipality has teamed up with an animal rights activist to develop an sophisticated app aimed at meeting the needs of the city's street animals and finding them permanent homes.
A budget proposal for 2021 that Vice President Fuat Oktay presented to parliament allocated funds to purchase hundreds of vehicles for government agencies as the country's economy remains strained. The Turkish Lira has been depreciating consistently since the beginning of the year, resisting state intervention as Ankara's international reserves shrink.
Turkish Parliament has received 25 new summaries of proceedings against 11 HDP lawmakers. If Parliament votes to strip the deputies of their immunity from prosecution, they will be tried by Turkish courts.
Hate speech and threats against Armenians in Turkey have accelerated following the outbreak of clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. HDP MP Garo Paylan, himself a Turkish-Armenian, has been targeted for his insistence on a ceasefire. "We can conclude that there will be no favorable results from this war--which has caused loss and destruction on both sides—and that the solution is on the peace table," Paylan said.
Turkey's top medical association has said that 143,000 coronavirus patients are currently treated at their homes, whereas 460,000 others have been placed under mandatory home quarantine. The Turkish Medical Association made the remarks based on the results of a survey conducted with family physicians across the country.
A report penned by CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu has said that 29 journalists, writers and publishers have received jail terms during January-September period of this year, 20 of whom have been arrested. "The animosity against journalists that is on the rise during the AKP rule is due to the government's stance against freedom of press,” Tanrıkulu said.
A group of university students and alumni are requesting that the Credit and Dormitories Agency (KYK) annul all loans. Currently, some five million Turkish university students are in debt to the state-run KYK, and 300,000 face prosecution for not being able to pay back the debt.
The lira sank to a record low to near 8 versus the dollar after Turkey’s central bank ignored investors' calls to raise its main interest rate. The decision to leave the rate unchanged prompted economists to question the central bank’s commitment to lowering inflation and its independence from the government.
Putin said on Oct. 22 Russia and Turkey disagree about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but emphasized strong ties between Moscow and Ankara. Erdoğan "might seem tough, but is a flexible politician and reliable partner for Russia," Putin said.
A 24-year-old woman was shot dead by her brother in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, news portal Jinnews reported on Oct. 21. Meanwhile, a local court discounted a femicide assailant's sentence on "good behavior," adding to the list of killers that Turkish courts are lenient toward.
Protesting miners from around Turkey were promised a solution within 10 days during an Oct. 21 meeting with Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group Deputy Chairwoman Özlem Zengin. Hundreds of miners started marching to the capital earlier this month, as survivors of the Soma Mining Disaster are yet to receive damages, and workers in Ermenek have 13 months of unpaid wages.
A newly passed legislation will allow ministries to veil their budget items as they submit their budget proposals to parliament. This means that they are no longer obliged to make it public how much is paid to private contractors for projects.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has confirmed that Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems were tested last week, as he also dismissed NATO allies' concerns on the issue. Akar also said that the S-400 won’t be integrated into NATO’s command-and-control infrastructure, but rather "used as a standalone system similar to the use of Russian-made S-300 weapons that exist within NATO."
Turkey's Health Ministry will regulate the administration of flu shots through the online government portal as supplies will fall short of soaring demand. Patients will need to obtain prescriptions from their family practitioner, report to a pharmacy with their prescription. Pharmacies will be supplied shots only after receipt of a prescription.
The AKP and its ally MHP on Oct. 21 rejected the HDP's demand to investigate what really unfolded during the 2014 Kobane protests for the 10th time. The HDP's demand came after dozens of its members, including co-mayors of the eastern province of Kars, were arrested over the protests six years later earlier this month.
A bus assistant in Turkey sexually harassed a 17-year-old passenger on a trip with Metro Turizm vehicle, notorious for sexual assault incidents. The company told an Instagram user who shared footage of the assault that the worker was uninsured, and asked them to remove the video.
Economy
The Turkish government has said that it "laughs off" boycotts imposed on Turkish products in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and United Arab Emirates. "We laugh off some countries' boycotts against Turkey. They should first learn to stand as independent countries," AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 18.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that income per capita in Turkey would drop to 2005 levels, an annual average of $7,720. The IMF also predicted a five percent contraction in the Turkish economy until the end of 2020, despite Ankara's 0.3 percent growth projection.
Turkey's net international investment deficit grew by $20 billion from the end of 2019 to reach a total $365.8 billion at the end of August. Turkey's international assets shrunk by 10.2 percent to reach $227.4 billion in the same period.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed a dip in real estate sales vis-a-vis last year in September, dropping by 6.9 percent for some 136,744 residences sold. Meanwhile, the total volume of sales between January and September was larger than the number in 2019.
Urban Beat
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.