Social Media
Though it is unlikely that Trumpian politics will become the new normal, from now on, all politics across the world will inevitably have a Trumpian dimension.
National causes and many of the “existential threats” against Turkey have to do with foreign policy. Public opinion is sharp on “what is wanted from us and what is spared from us” though it cannot exactly pinpoint what it wants itself.
Representative for an Armenian Istanbul church, Simon Çeken filed a complaint against a social media user who created hate speech about Armenians. The lawyer had previously urged authorities to take action against a social media personality who was producing hate speech.
Turkey’s main opposition CHP has announced that it will make an application with the Constitutional Court for the annulment of the new social media regulation law. CHP MP Engin Özkoç said on July 29 that with this law, the ruling AKP wants to erase the collective memory that it "walked arm in arm" with the Gülen movement.
Human Rights Watch said on July 27 that the Turkish government’s efforts to introduce new powers to control social media will greatly increase online censorship. “If passed, the new law will enable the government to control social media, to get content removed at will, and to arbitrarily target individual users,” said Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch.
Erdoğan government’s ability to expand its repression and go further with ever more assertiveness without facing any resistance has to do with the haplessness and perhaps deficient aptitudes of those who could check it. Cynical pundits, eager to crush opposition figures, say “you’ll see what comes next,” and they are always proven right.
The convention was introduced here, in Istanbul, back in 2011, and ratified in the parliament a year later. What changed in the last eight years that the AKP came to the point of withdrawing from the Convention? The answer lies in the drastic change in the political agenda, the growing oppression, and the undermining of basic human rights.
The social media bill prepared by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), will allow Ankara to force platforms into removing any content, revealing users' identities and sharing data. According to cyber rights expert Yaman Akdeniz, the government could use the new regulation to bury all reports of corruption and remove their own photos with Fethullah Gülen.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has submitted a bill consisting of nine articles to regulate social media to parliament. If passed, the bill would require large social media providers to set up an office in Turkey and respond to orders to remove "offensive content" within 48 hours.
Nuray Pehlivan reports: Archaeologist Canay Alpagut, has accused Istanbul University Prehistory Department head Necmi Karul of sexual harassment. Archaeology student Ilgın Yaren Demirkesen, came forward with similar claims. Professor Karul has denied the accusations, which he describes as a “lynch campaign,” though he has resigned from his position as department head.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has taken the first step with regards to social media regulation. A commission named “Digital Mediums Commission” will be established in parliament. The commission will consist of 17 people and will provide suggestions with regards to the rights and use principles of the internet.
Nergis Demirkaya reports: A bill being drafted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) aimed at regulating social media platforms in Turkey is to resemble similar legislation in Germany, according to sources within the party. "The purpose is to establish representatives that will assume legal responsibility," one AKP official told Duvar while refuting claims that the government wants to ban social media.
More regulation has traditionally been in conflict with the basic principles of the freedom of speech in Turkey, and if the opposition is lured into supporting this new initiative, they will likely participate in the closure of a big part of the communication space, including its own.
Former Turkish prime minister and Future Party founder Ahmet Davutoğlu has accused the ruling AKP of being hypocritical for its planned crackdown on social media on the grounds of "immorality," saying that the AKP itself is responsible for unethical behavior by organizing Twitter troll accounts to target dissidents.
Turkey's Homeland Party (Vatan Party) leader Doğu Perinçek said that he supported the president's recent push in favor of social media restrictions. Perinçek added that the government should be a dictatorship against "freedoms for corruption, decay, vulgarity and debauchery."
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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.