United States
Turkey’s state-run Halkbank, facing trial in the U.S. over charges of breaking sanctions on Iran, said on Aug. 10 that it was immune from prosecution and that U.S. laws did not cover its alleged misconduct. In a Manhattan court filing, Halkbank said its status as an "instrumentality" of Turkey shielded it from prosecution under principles of sovereign immunity.
The U.S.' health protection agency CDC has designated Turkey as a risky place for COVID-19, urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. "COVID-19 risk in Turkey is high. If you get sick in Turkey and need medical care, resources may be limited," the CDC said.
Germany now seems as if it has more empathy toward Turkey as compared to the past. This is because Germans have recognized the futility of spending energy clashing with the leader of a country who has completely changed national policies into tactics that keep him in power.
It is difficult to estimate how the U.S.’s Syria policy will look after the U.S. presidential elections, but, for the moment, oil is a factor that extends the stay of U.S. troops. Despite Trump's back-and-forth positions, the Kurds are the most important base for this framework.
An American oil company has signed a deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to develop and modernize existing oil fields in northeastern Syria, Al-Monitor reported on July 30. The deal was made “with the acknowledgement and encouragement of the White House," sources told Al-Monitor.
Turkey was removed from the list of "global participants" on the official website for the United States' F-35 fighter jets. Turkey's participation in the supply chain was suspended following Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 defense system.
Turkey's foreign trade deficit doubled between January and May as exports fell by 20 percent. The monthly trade deficit also doubled in May, surpassing $3 billion.
A lawyer for Turkey's state-owned Halkbank has said that the bank will ask the U.S. judge overseeing a criminal case accusing it of helping Iran evade American sanctions to recuse himself. Earlier in June, former US national security adviser John Bolton had said in his new memoir that Trump agreed to intervene in the Halkbank investigation at Erdoğan's request.
The United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) likened railroads and highways in Turkey's capital Ankara to arteries in an eagle-eye shot of the city at night, dubbed "photo of the day" on June 28.
Even though Sisi always said they would not just watch Turkey increase its involvement, it was believed that he would avoid a military adventure. The major fear of Sisi is that in the event that Islamist forces win in Libya, there is a possibility that Muslim Brotherhood, which he toppled in a 2013 coup, may have the chance to take revenge.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump have "instructed" foreign and defense ministries and intelligence to work together on Libya. "That we take a common action here is important for the region's stability and Libya's future,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Turkish Airlines will be resuming flights to the United States on June 19 after months of COVID-19 restrictions. The flagship carrier will start with three weekly flights to Chicago, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles.
Metin Yeğin writes: Belgian Marxian economist Ernest Mandel said that the bourgeois left two structures intact: colonialism and the proletariat. It is not surprising that African-Americans in the U.S. and Kurds here are killed so easily. The plight of both the Kurds and the African-Americans is related to class dynamics.
Many Turkish Islamists tend to exaggerate and connect all black movements in the United States to Islam. Another reason that probably affected Erdoğan’s perspective is that the protests in America are perceived here in Turkey as protests for identity. Unfortunately, Turkish political Islamists are in favor of democracy only if it suits this polarizing form of identity politics.
Researchers at Istanbul's Sabancı University traced the first case of COVID-19 in Turkey to the United States, which also pointed to having arrived earlier than the official announcement of March 11. Meanwhile, the second and third cases were revealed to have arrived from Europe and Australia.
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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.
Taner Akçam writes: The regime’s bold stroke vis-a-vis Hagia Sophia should not be seen as stemming from desperation. Rather, it is simply meant to relay the not-so-subtle message of the path to be followed by the "New Republic", and that message is that the “annihilationist tradition” of the old regime, inherited by the Republic’s founders, will be retained in the era to come.
Politics
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is planning to make changes in the electoral system when parliament reopens in October. Various commissions were formed to work on the changes on the Law on Political Parties, Elections Law and Parliament Bylaws, sources told Duvar, adding that the first draft bills of the next legislative year will concern them.
The U.S.' health protection agency CDC has designated Turkey as a risky place for COVID-19, urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to the country. "COVID-19 risk in Turkey is high. If you get sick in Turkey and need medical care, resources may be limited," the CDC said.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has named the party's new top brass, the Central Executive Board (MYK), after its 37th ordinary congress. The number of individuals in the CHP MYK was decreased to 16 from 18. Tuncay Özkan and Ünal Çeviköz were left out, while Böke, Ali Öztunç, Yüksel Taşkın and Ahmet Akın were handed posts.
The Ankara branch of Turkish Health Workers' Union (SES) has said that there are currently approximately 50,000 coronavirus patients in the capital, 3,500 of whom are receiving treatment at hospitals. The SES based this figure on the number of patients each family physician in the capital is monitoring for suspected coronavirus infection.
All passengers travelling from Turkey to Germany are required to take COVID-19 tests and those who do not submit a negative PCR test result will not be allowed to leave the country. However many questions are still unanswered regarding this new implementation as travelers still do not know where they will be placed under quarantine, who will cover the cost of their accommodation should they stay at a hotel and how their treatment will be actualized in Turkey.
Turkish archaeologist Dr. Vuslat Müller Karpe was buried in the ancient city of Samuha where she has led excavation work for the past 15 years. The 3,800-years-old settlement was a political hub in the Hittite civilization.
Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) data revealed that seasonally adjusted unemployment in May rose by 0.2 percent from May 2019. Some 4,166,000 people reported unemployment in May.
Ancient Roman toilets and baths will be displayed in southwestern Denizli's Tripolis settlement by summer of 2021. The excavation head noted that the toilets and baths were connected through waterways and sewage, adding the importance of toilets for Roman urban architecture.
The Akbük village in the Aegean province of Muğla was transferred to the Muğla Tourism Environment Foundation (MUÇEV), a company close to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Though MUÇEV has the word “foundation” in its name, it is actually registered as a company under the legal name MUÇEV Tourism Commerce LLC.
Turkey's Saturday Mothers has called on the state to enlighten the case of Ferhat Tepe, a reporter for now defunct pro-Kurdish Özgur Gündem newspaper who was found dead after disappearing on July 28, 1993. The group said in its weekly demonstration on Aug. 8 that as a result of Turkish state's denialist attitude in the face of enforced disappearances, members of security forces who are responsible for serious human rights violations are not held accountable for their actions.
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.
Şaban Vatan, the father of Rabia Naz who was found dead in a suspicious way two years ago, has been stopped by the police for wearing a t-shirt that read “Where are you justice?” and “What happened to Rabia Naz?” “So it turns out, a person's being in Taksim with a t-shirt that has Rabia Naz's picture on, is a crime," Vatan wrote on Twitter.
A prominent health expert has said that about 3,000 people are believed to have been infected with the COVID-19 virus during the prayers held at Istanbul's Hagia Sophia on July 24. "There were about 1,000 asymptotic patients there, based on forecasts. If we think of the transmission rate, those patients have infected 2,000-3,000 others. I believe that gathering will increase the cases in Istanbul,” Assoc. Pro. Dr. Üner said on Aug. 8.
Richard Moore, who served as British ambassador to Turkey from January 2014 to December 2017, has been named as the next chief of MI6. A fluent Turkish speaker, he studied at Oxford and first joined MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, in 1987.
Turkey's parliament speaker Mustafa Şentop, from the ruling AKP, has said that there is no need for Turkey to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women. Şentop's comments came as the AKP is considering whether to pull Turkey out of the convention, alarming campaigners who see the pact as key to combating rising domestic violence.
Turkey's Arab Alawite community has celebrated the Gadir Hum holiday amid concerns of rising cases of coronavirus in Turkey. Mehmet Ali Dönmez, who organized Gadir Hum festivities in the Samandağ district of Hatay, which is prominently Arab Alawite, said that the celebration of the festival is in defiance of cultural assimilation.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has voiced support to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak amid the country's worsening economy. Several AKP officials, including Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, defended Albayrak on Twitter via using the hashtag "We stand with Berat Albayrak."
Amnesty International has called on the Turkish government to "fully implement" the Istanbul Convention rather withdraw from it. The prominent organization said that Turkey's withdrawal from the convention would have "disastrous consequences" for millions of women and girls in the country.
Rights organizations will take the case of Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal -- who have been on a hunger strike since April 5 to support their demand for a fair trial -- to the Constitutional Court. The move comes after an Istanbul court in July denied the release of Timtik and Ünsal, despite a medical report that says it is not “suitable” for the two lawyers to remain in jail.
Some 64 percent of Turkish people are of the belief that it is not safe to allow schools to reopen on Aug. 31 amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to a recent survey conducted by Metropoll. The survey also looked at how supporters of different political parties view this issue, finding that 53 percent of AKP voters do not support the government's planned move.
Economy
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
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.