social distancing
A ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy has tested positive positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) days after attending Friday prayers at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia. Akay is the third AKP deputy to announce that he was diagnosed with coronavirus after attending the prayers.
In the past four months, none of our municipalities prepared the infrastructure for washing our hands. They were not able to meet the sidewalk conditions of 1.5 meters width for the social distancing of pedestrians. Almost all of our 1,397 municipalities have failed according to these criteria, including opposition ones.
A party on the Istanbul Bosphorus was raided by police and 49 partygoers were fined a total of 154,350 Turkish Liras (over $20,000). The owners of the boat were detained for legal action.
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca warned against a rising number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care on July 5. The number of patients in intensive care spiked by 34 on July 5, reaching 1,127.
Turkey's top religious authority banned hand contact during bargaining for animals on sale as sacrifices during Eid al-Adha.
Turkey's first mass event after the COVID-19 pandemic brought together 50 ambassadors and their families, press and businessmen together in Mediterranean Antalya's Aspendos Theater. The concert was performed by Turkey's seven tenors, accompanied by the Antalya Opera and Ballet's orchestra.
A Turkish COVID-19 Science Committee member warned of a second wave of infections if society isn't careful enough with preventative measures. The committee member noted that everyone should continue to wash their hands, social distance and wear a mask.
After months of staying at home and practicing distancing, it is inevitable that people will occasionally swing too far in the other direction—once given the opportunity. This is a wider social problem, one which no amount of “pandemic-shaming” (polarized along political lines like most things in Turkey nowadays) is going to solve.
Turkish main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) saved a seat for deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who was recently stripped of his title. A sheet that said Enis Kadri Berberoğlu, a pair of glasses and a pen, along with a copy of the Constitution lay at an empty seat during the CHP group meeting, held under social distancing measures.
A cafe in the northeastern province of Artvin is enforcing social distancing guidelines with mannequins, placing a couple at every other table. As the mannequins occupy half the tables, customers are forced to stay at a safe distance from others.
The initiative of an industrialists' union in Turkey to hang electronic tracking devices from the necks of workers received harsh criticism from labor unions. The Platform of Istanbul Labor Union called the measure “downright slavery”.
A member of Turkey's COVID-19 Science Committee said that large wedding organizations will be allowed as of July 11. Noting that date might change based on the course of the pandemic, the committee member said organizations with at most 50 people will be allowed around June 8.
Turkey's Mediterranean vacation destination Antalya has started preparations for the arrival of tourists, expected around the end of May. The municipality has distanced lounge chairs and umbrellas from each other, and banned squatting in an attempt to ensure safe distances between visitors.
A Turkey-based NGO that works with seasonal farmers criticized a lack of precautionary measures in fields as harvest season starts in the country. Workers have reportedly complained about a lack of personal protective equipment, as well as crowded transportation to fields despite the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other passengers.
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca criticized consumers for flocking to shopping malls on the first day they would open after nearly two months of COVID-19 closures. While pointing to the lack of social distancing in a photograph that showed a queue outside one shopping mall Koca warned that "being too close will bring an early separation".
Editor's Picks
Ahmet Murat Aytaç writes: The recent inhumane attack against migrant workers that took place in the Mazıdağı district of Sakarya should be analyzed within the framework of economic oppression. No matter what triggered the assaults, the general tendency in Turkey right now is to deny the ethnic dimension of the conflict.
duvar englis podcasts
In this week's episode, Duvar English Editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel hosts American political scientist Wendy Pearlman to talk about her latest book "We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria," which was recently published in Turkish. Pearlman spoke to hundreds of Syrian refugees, collecting human stories from one of recent history's biggest humanitarian crises.
Qu Dongyu writes: The food systems that must give daily sustenance to all humans on this planet are under threat by the COVID-19 pandemic. If we want to avoid what could be the worst food crisis in modern history, we need robust and strategic international cooperation at an extraordinary scale.
Politics
Turkey's Court of Cassation, the top appeals court, has found a male employee at fault for using the women's toilet at the store where he was working at. The court rejected the employee's demand for a compensation after he was fired from his job.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has determined that dozens of firms and restaurants in Turkey use fake ingredients in their products to cut down on costs. With the Turkish lira continuing to decline in value as the country experiences a serious economic downturn, some food producers and restaurants are cutting on costs and cutting corners, and deceiving their customers in the process.
Several Turkish citizens have sent petitions to the parliament, raising their concerns about the safety of 5G technology. The parliament's committee on petition has asked the issue to the Information Technologies and Communication Authority (BTK) and was told that Turkey was “working to produce the 5G infrastructure locally.”
Bursts of steam rising from Mount Nemrut have raised concern among locals, amid speculations that the dormant volcano can become active again if triggered by earthquakes. “There are many fault lines arund Mount Nemrut. If these fault lines are ruptured, theoretically a [volcanic] movement can occur in Mount Nemrut. This is always a possibility,” Prof. Dr. Aydın Büyük Saraç said.
Enis Berberoğlu's lawyer has called for the reinstatement of his client's deputy status after the Constitutional Court ruled that the former CHP lawmaker's rights were violated when he was dismissed from parliament earlier this year.
President Erdoğan has said that the government is preparing to introduce new measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, since "people have not complied with the rules." The virus infections began increasing after Ankara loosened restrictions on public activity, starting in June. Critics have also accused the government of hypocrisy with regards to the measures, pointing out that social distancing measures were being overlooked in several occasions, such as the rallies of the AKP.
Islamic communities that are known to have close ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have recently speeded up efforts to establish their own foundations. On Sept. 17, two more such foundations have been established, one of which has close ties to the İsmailağa community, while the other has close ties to pro-government KİHMED.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 18 Turkey was saddened by news that Libya's internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj wants to quit next month. "A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us," Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that Turkish delegations may hold talks with Sarraj's government in the coming week.
Various rights groups have said that human rights violations recorded in prisons have spiked during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a recent example of the rights violation, the groups said that authorities had confiscated several personal belongings of a group of inmates during their transfer to two newly opened Diyarbakır prisons.
The mother of a murder suspect was found dead with a single bullet to the back of her head on Sept. 17. Her son, a suspect in his girlfriend's death, her husband and the family's attorney blamed her death on TV host Müge Anlı because she had said the mother had "failed to raise a son."
A Turkish court has acquitted Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş of the charges of “misconduct” with regards to the collection of a $600,000 cheque in a legal dispute that began in 2009, when Yavaş was a practicing lawyer. The businessman named Necmettin Keskin was convicted of making false allegations against Yavaş.
Anyone who voluntarily violates COVID-19 isolation despite being infected is committing manslaughter, Diyarbakır Governor Münir Karaloğlu said. The governor's office made criminal complaints about anyone they found to be in violation.
Turkey's Social Security Institution (SGK) is demanding court rulings to pay for some patients' cancer treatment, going against precedent from the Constitutional Court. A main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy urged the SGK to adhere to include medication the court has ruled on in their default coverage.
DTK co-chair and former HDP deputy Leyla Güven was briefly detained on Sept. 17 in the southeastern province of Hakkari for attending an event a day earlier. She was taken to police headquarters after anti-terror police stopped her car and was referred to court after giving her testimony before being released.
Turkey's Environment and Urbanization Ministry will ban swimming in western Turkey's Lake Salda, often dubbed "Turkey's Maldives" for its white beaches. The lake has been the site of a controversial construction for a "people's garden" by the state.
Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate has set up a new department to tackle "misperception operations" against Turkey. Countering "psychological campaigns, propaganda and misperception operations against Turkey" after determining them were listed among the department's duties.
A man who was detained by Turkish police in the eastern province of Van was hospitalized and suffers from memory loss due to police torture, while another one remains in critical condition. According to hospital records, one of those detained was brought to the hospital for "falling from a high place," adding to the allegations that the two men were thrown from a helicopter.
The Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court has ruled that Can Dündar’s assets will be seized if the renowned journalist does not attend a trial against him within 15 days. Dündar fled to Germany after being convicted in 2016 on charges of revealing state secrets in a story about arms shipments to Syria.
A foresters' association slammed official data about Turkey's forest fires in 2020, noting that the Forestry General Directorate (OGM) had been known to underreport burned forestland in previous years. The OGM reported some 2,279 forest fires in the country this year.
Adverts offering COVID-19 testing that yields results in three hours have been circulating Turkish capital Ankara as the city observed a spike in daily diagnoses and deaths. Meanwhile, legitimate laboratories say that no such test exists.
Economy
Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has urged a judge to dismiss a U.S. indictment accusing the bank of helping Iran evade American sanctions. At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 18, a lawyer for Halkbank said its status as a Turkish “instrumentality” shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.
Turkey's unemployment rate rose to 13.4 percent. and participation edged up in the May-July period in which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a ban on layoffs remained in place, data showed on Sept. 10, painting a clearer picture of the pandemic's fallout.
Turkish Airlines (THY) observed a drop of almost 65 percent in the number of August travelers compared to the year before. Domestic flights saw a smaller drop of 47.1 percent, while international flights shrank by 75.4 percent, THY said.
Urban Beat
The 48th Istanbul Music Festival will be held online, streaming pre-recorded performances in historical venues. Starting on Sept. 18, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will make available the performances that honor composer Ludwig van Beethoven.
Ali Demir writes: So the property of the local non-Muslims collapsed, and what happened? Nothing! The whole country is now composed of non-local foreigners. The greedy tailor apprentice that murdered his master could not sew a jacket, and will never be able to.
The tomb and gold jewels of a woman dubbed the "Carian Princess" can now be seen in the Aegean province of Muğla's Bodrum Castle. Recovered in 1989, the body is thought to belong to a woman in her 40s.
Turkey's news agenda has focused on "renovations" that resulted in dramatic results, often adding incoherent elements. Most recently, footage of "renovation" in Istanbul's Galata Tower had shown workers drilling into original walls.