Turkish opposition
AKP Group Deputy Chair Özlem Zengin has said that "women had no name" before the AKP came to power, prompting surprise among the opposition. "Women had no name in this country until the AKP came to power. Women built the AKP and that's why we, as the women and men in the party and our President, try to make life easier for women with the works that we carry out," Zengin said in parliament.
Turkey's right-wing political party leaders Ali Babacan, Meral Akşener and Ahmet Davutoğlu have commemorated communist poet Nazım Hikmet on the 57th anniversary of his death. Hikmet is usually commemorated by leftists in Turkey and the commemoration tweets of right-wing leaders prompted surprise.
Ten new political parties were founded in Turkey in the past five months, increasing the total number to 91. Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), which was founded by former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan, is among the said parties. Former prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu founded his Future Party earlier than the said time period, in late 2019.
AKP officials believe that DEVA leader Ali Babacan aims to make former president Abdullah Gül a presidential candidate. An AKP official also claimed that the new parties will form a right-wing alliance with İYİ (Good) Party and the Felicity Party to ensure that there's a second round, which would be the third alliance in the Turkish political scene.
Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) held an online meeting with main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), recently-founded offshoots of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Islamist Felicity Party (Saadet). Meeting in the context of Eid al-Fitr greetings, the deputies noted that the Turkish opposition must unite to establish a political environment with less polarization and more freedoms.
The CHP is set to apply to the Constitutional Court to annul the "unconstitutional" articles of a recent prisoner release law. In its application, the CHP said that the bill created discrimination between the convicts and inmates, as well between the convicts themselves, adding that it's against a number of articles in the constitution, mainly on equality.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has warned against resuming medical tourism, saying that the move would result in a health disaster amid the ongoing pandemic. "We still don't know the consequences of reopening shopping malls and think that bringing patients from abroad on such an early date like May 20 into the hospitals here will be harmful to the health of society,” TTB chairman Sinan Adıyaman told Duvar.
Turkey's media watchdog RTÜK head Ebubekir Şahin has refused to fine the pro-government Ülke TV channel over Islamist commentator Sevda Noyan's remarks on her family's “capability” to kill at least 50 people if a new coup attempt is undertaken in Turkey. "If a penalty will be given, it should not be one that makes coup lovers and praisers happy," Şahin said. "We're not in a position to sentence the statements made against those who praise a coup," he added.
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.
Friends of renowned businessman, philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala has penned a letter to him. "We wanted to write to you from wherever we all are, on the street under the magical light of the full moon, near the sea, on the seaside, on the mountains on this May night, as a response to your April 19 letter. 'Despite all the pains, injustices and everything, thank you life, thank you Osman!'" they said.
İYİ Party deputy Aytun Çıray has asked Health Minister Fahrettin Koca to explain the reasons for why an unusual increase in the number of deaths took place in Istanbul this year compared to last year. "In 2019, the number of people who died in Istanbul between March 11 and April 15 is 7,710. The number is 10,317 in the same time period in 2020. It can be clearly seen that it's not an ordinary increase," he said.
CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak has slammed the government over sending coronavirus aid to a number of countries when Turkish people can't get masks. "They couldn't distribute five masks to people in the past month, but they sent planes full of masks to Britain, Spain and Italy to show off," Öztrak said, referring to the government's decision to distribute five masks free of charge to each citizen once in every 10 days.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has penned a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations with Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet's words, calling for the UN to declare March 11, which is the date that the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, as the "World Struggle and Solidarity Day Against Pandemic."
Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that the heads of all the AKP provincial organizations wanted to resign when he quit his role as prime minister in 2016. "This is the first time I'm saying this. All the provincial groups said, 'Allow us to hand our resignations as well.' Selim Temurci, then AKP Istanbul provincial head, said, 'We approved your party leadership nine months ago. All the provincial heads will resign. We stand with you,'" he said.
Singer Şükriye Tutkun and art director Yudum Yontan, two neighbors of Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and his wife Fatmanur Altun, has come to their defense over reports of his illegal construction in Istanbul's Kuzguncuk neighborhood. They said that the land that the construction was made was a dump where drug addicts were dwelling in, hence finding the construction a positive move for the neighborhood.
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.