U.S. President Donald Trump
The United States embassy in Libya has announced U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed in a phone call the steps necessary to achieve a demilitarized zone in central Libya. The phone call was followed by a visit from U.S. Ambassador Richard Norland to senior Turkish officials in Ankara.
Several members of Congress have been quietly blocking multiple U.S. arms sales to Turkey as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has still yet to impose mandatory sanctions on the country over its purchase of a Russian-made missile defense system, CNN cited several congressional aides as saying.
Sanctions imposed against China by the U.S. over Beijing's suppression of its Uyghur minority in the autonomous Xinjiang region should have come from Turkey, said World Uyghur Congress inspector general Abdülhakim İdris. “There are those who have been sent to the interment camps in Xinjiang just because they studied in Turkey," he claimed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan used U.S. President Donald Trump's inexperience in foreign policy to obtain Turkish interests, U.S. sources told CNN. Senior officials in Trump's administration reportedly said that the most drastic example of this phenomenon was the U.S. president's decision to move troops out of northern Syria, exposing their allies in the fight against ISIS - the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that a book by former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton had "misleading" and "manipulative presentations" of the conversations between President Erdoğan and U.S. President Trump. "It is clear that the goal of this mischaracterizations and falsehoods are driven by domestic political considerations as well as personal gain," Altun said.
Former national security adviser John Bolton has claimed that U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to intervene in a federal investigation into Halkbank upon President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's request. Trump agreed to "take care of things" and said the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York were "Obama people, a problem that would be fixed when they were replaced by his people."
Despite halts in trials issued by the World Health Organization for the drug hydroxychloroquine over concerns about its safety resulting in France ceasing to use it as a treatment for COVID-19, it is still being used in Turkey as of May 27. The Turkish Medical Association issued a public warning on Wednesday saying that the drug might cause arrhythmia.
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that Ankara is loyal to its agreement with Russia on the S-400 missile defense systems, adding that there were delays because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "We're loyal to our agreement on S-400s just like we were previously," Kalın said in an interview on May 26, adding that Turkey is open to negotiations with the United States if it agrees to send Patriot missiles.
The two persons Ekim Alptekin introduced to Michael Flynn in a meeting room of New York’s Peninsula Hotel on September 19, 2016 were Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Berat Albayrak, who was Energy Minister at the time. Both names, from the time these claims were voiced until today, have almost played possum.
Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, who was accused of illegal lobbying, has said that he tried to convince the Turkish government to hire the Flynn Intel Group following the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, but stepped in himself after failing to do so. "I tried to convince the government and at some point I thought I convinced them, but it was a very busy time for them as well and it didn't push through soon enough. So that's when I stepped in and decided to do it myself and it was all very quick," he said.
President Erdoğan has sent a letter to U.S. President Trump, voicing his hope that the U.S. Congress would better understand the strategic importance of their relations, given solidarity and supplies shared during the coronavirus pandemic. “I hope that in the upcoming period, with the spirit of solidarity we have displayed during the pandemic, Congress and the U.S. media will better understand the strategic importance of our relations,” he said.
Newly-released search warrants against Roger Stone revealed a mysterious web of connections, including the Turkish government, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and an individual described as the "Bill Gates of Turkey." The documents showed an attempt to procure damaging information held by the Turkish government.
Ağrı Mayor Savcı Sayan has said that he will send medical masks to Hollywood stars and U.S. President Donald Trump amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Speaking to reporters in his office, Sayan praised Turkey for sending coronavirus medical aid to a number of countries, adding that Hollywood stars and several other celebrities have been experiencing difficulties in "desperation" in finding masks despite their fortune.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on April 14 repeated an offer to the United States to establish a technical working group including NATO to help solve a dispute over Ankara's purchase of S-400 Russian missile defenses that angered Washington. "We offer the U.S. to establish a technical working group with NATO's inclusion and NATO can lead this technical working group actually. And this offer is still on the table," he said.
Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank on March 31 pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in a federal court in Manhattan that it helped Iran evade US sanctions, in a case that has strained relations between the United States and Turkey. The plea – to charges including conspiracy, bank fraud, and money laundering – was entered by the bank’s US lawyer at a hearing conducted by telephone conference because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Editor's Picks
Serdar Korucu writes: One of the topics that comes to mind when recalling the Ottoman legacy in Lebanon is the Armenian Genocide. Among the most important symbolic structures carrying the traces of 1915 in Lebanon is the Armenian Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia in Antelias.
duvar englis podcasts
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Robert Bosch Academy's Galip Dalay to discuss the impact of Turkish government's recent domestic policy moves on Ankara's international relations. They look for answers to whether there is any possibility that Turkey's relations with the West might change for the better any time soon.
Politics
The Arab Parliament expressed its readiness to work with Iraq to mobilize regional and international support to stop the Turkish attacks on the Iraqi soil, following the death of two Iraqi border guards as a result of a Turkish drone strike on Aug. 11. The Arab League similarly condemned the Turkish drone attack saying that Turkey's action is "a blatant violation of Iraq's sovereignty."
Several women gathered in Ankara's Kurtuluş neighborhood and wanted to march towards the Kızılay Square in an attempt to read a press statement there in protest of the government’s plan to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention. The women however faced a harsh police response, with several of them having been battered or detained.
Greek experts and politicians critical of the government have said that Athens has made a mistake with regards to the timing of the maritime deal that it struck with Egypt last week. They also accused Mitsotakis government of pursuing a “maximalist” and “very strict policy” in the Aegean and East Mediterranean.
World-famed Bollywood actor Aamir Khan stopped shooting his movie Laal Singh Chaddha, an adaption of the 1994 classic Forrest Gump, due to coronavirus outbreak in India. Khan now looks for alternative locations in Turkey to shoot his movie.
The World Bank issued its latest edition of the Turkey Economic Monitor (TEM) on Aug. 12, in which it pointed to the sharp drop in Turkey's Central Bank reserves. "Though short-term external debt obligations seem manageable, a growing current account deficit and the sharp decline in reserves have heightened external vulnerabilities," it said.
Turkey's main opposition CHP has disputed the official unemployment statistics, saying that the country's actual unemployment rate stands at 30.6 percent which corresponds to over 10.5 million people. CHP spokesperson Faik Öztrak has said that this number of unemployed people is higher than the populations of 109 countries.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has said that demanding education in Kurdish shows captivity to imperialism, as he commented on Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu's remarks. "The fact that Davutoğlu talked about the Kurdish issue and mentioned education in mother tongue is a scandalous example of the extent that captivity to imperialism has reached," Bahçeli said in a written statement on Aug. 12.
İYİ Party leader Akşener on Aug. 12 paid a visit to DEVA chair Babacan to congratulate him for his new party. The two opposition leaders later held a press meeting, during which Babacan was asked if he would consider joining the People's Alliance of the AKP and MHP should such an offer come. "What we need to focus on is to complete the process of producing and [party] organization," Babacan said in response to the question.
Several human rights groups have penned a letter to the UN Human Rights Office asking the organization to urge the Turkish government not to discriminate against LGBTI+ individuals and to take necessary steps to protect the LGBTI+ community from any attacks.
Main opposition Istanbul Municipality revealed that the Culture Ministry's contract workers had been destroying walls of ancient Galata Tower. The historic building had been taken away from the municipality last 2019, and forced to be evacuated in April.
Iraq cancelled on Aug. 11 Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar's visit to the country which was scheduled for Aug. 13, Iraq's foreign ministry said in a statement following the death of two Iraqi border guards as a result of a Turkish drone strike. The ministry also summoned the Turkish ambassador to hand him "a strong protest note and inform him of Iraq’s confirmed rejection of his country's attacks and violations," the statement added.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has not confirmed whether Cemil Bayık, one of the leaders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was killed in a drone strike. "Our anti-terror operations are ongoing. Our advice to the whole world is for them to follow Turkey in terms of the struggle against terror," Soylu told reporters in the capital Ankara on Aug. 12 when asked to comment on the issue.
Turkey's Koç University presented a new research center that will work on vaccines and treatments for infectious diseases including for COVID-19, funded by commercial İşbank for an annual budget over five million Turkish Liras. The new center will also work on diagnosis and public health.
The deputy governor of southern province of Hatay on Aug. 11 shot and killed his mother and his brother in a brawl concerning inherited farming land. Tolga Polat was detained by police a few hours after he fled the scene. State-run Anadolu Agency reported on Aug. 12 that the deputy governor had been arrested by a court order.
Istanbul police on Aug. 5 raided Istanbul's İdil Culture Center where leftist folk band Grup Yorum carries out its musical works and detained five people there, including former hunger-striking academic Nuriye Gülmen. The People's Law Office announced on Aug. 11 that Gülmen was among the two who were arrested in the case.
Turkish Interior Ministry has sent a circular to 32 governors' offices warning them that PKK militants might be preparing to exchange a substantial amount of foreign currencies with Turkish liras to buy food and survival supplies for storage as part of their winter preparation plans.
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin has said in a letter that neither Turkish nor Kurdish identity is something to brag about. "If you are to hang an identity around your neck, let it just read 'only human,'" read Demirtaş's letter, which was shared by his wife Başak Demirtaş.
The European Union has said that it's "extremely worried" about the escalating tensions between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean. Also on Aug. 11, Turkish Coast Guard Command announced that three people were injured when Greek navy opened fire on a private boat off the coast of Muğla.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) didn't ask to borrow money from Turkey, former Central Bank head Durmuş Yılmaz said to refute President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's claim. "This is a lie. The issue is technical. In short, the IMF didn't ask to borrow money from us. A commitment was made to a contingency fund and it wasn't realized. The proof: There is no such record on the Central Bank balance," Yılmaz tweeted on Aug. 11.
Economy
Goldman Sachs revised its periodic forecasts for the Turkish lira, anticipating that it will continue to fall and will reach 8.25 to the dollar by next year. The lira has been the world's second-worst performing currency thus far this month, dropping four percent for a total of an 18 percent decline in 2020.
Some 40 percent of youth aged between 25-29 are financially dependent on their parents, said a deputy of main opposition CHP. "Some 40 percent of our 6.1 million young people in the age group of 25-29, i.e. 2.5 million, are neither in unemployment nor in education. Due to the ruling government's policies, our youth in this age group are unfortunately living in a way that is depending on their parents,” Veli Ağbaba said.
Economist and former Treasury advisor Mahfi Eğilmez has said that the Turkish economy is no longer predictable. "In an unpredictable economy, due to the fact the risks increase, this means that expenses will also increase,” Eğilmez wrote in a column on Aug. 5.
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.
Urban Beat
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?
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.