Russia has confirmed the delivery of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets to Syria in "two batches" which commenced combat duty on June 1. “Syrian Arab Army received the second batch of advanced MiG-29 fighter jets from #Russia - in the framework of military & technical cooperation between our countries,” the Russian Embassy in Syria said on June 3.
Turkey's Health Ministry extended the legally required time for pregnancy leave by two months. "Everything else must stop if there's a baby to be welcomed to the world, or everything else should be done by someone else," Minister Koca said in his announcement.
A Swiss court blocked the extradition to Germany of an alleged PKK regional leader, ruling that German authorities had not made enough of a case against the man whose group is not banned in Switzerland. The man, a Turkish citizen whose identity was not revealed in the Federal Criminal Court verdict, had fought extradition since his arrest at Zurich airport last November on an international warrant.
The swap deal limit between the central banks of Turkey and Qatar has been amended to $15 billion equivalent of Turkish lira and Qatari riyal. According to a statement from the Turkish Central Bank on May 20, the move aims to facilitate bilateral trade in respective local currencies and to support financial stability of the two countries.
Trabzonspor has announced that it will file an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the UEFA's decision to ban the club from European football for one season.
German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth has called on Turkey to "respect its international obligations" and to implement the European Court of Human Rights' decision urging for philanthropist Osman Kavala's immediate release.
HDP lawmakers Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları and main opposition CHP Enis Berberoğulları were stripped of their statuses as members of parliament on June 4. Deputies chanted slogans against fascism and the ruling AKP. They also slammed the party for being "putschists."
Atilla Kart, lawyer and former MP of the main opposition CHP, has said that the expulsion of three opposition deputies from the parliament is "unconstitutional," as the process of lifting their legal immunity had not been renewed following their re-election on June 24, 2018.
Turkey will impose a two-day curfew in 15 provinces beginning Friday midnight in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Interior Ministry said grocery shops will be allowed to operate until 11 p.m. on June 5 and they will be open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on June 6.
Turkey's government-allied MHP has proposed giving police electroshock devices in order for them to "protect themselves," citing "increased attacks on police." "It's clear that the use of new equipment is needed amid increasing attacks on our police," MHP deputy Halil Öztürk said, although it was unclear which incidents he was referring to since, contrary to his remarks, police brutality has been on the rise.
The mother of Ayşe Karaman, suspected to have been killed by her boyfriend, protested outside the Ankara Courthouse on June 1, which would have been her daughter's 26th birthday. Karaman was found dead under suspicious conditions in her boyfriend's home.
The Ankara Governor's Office said that businesses were only allowed to play music "to be listened to," and not "to be danced to." Meanwhile, the governor's office extended the closure of entertainment venues.
Turkish President Erdoğan and Libya's GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj met in the capital Ankara on June 4. In a news conference, Erdoğan said both countries plan to advance cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, including exploration and drilling activities.
Turkey's Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun has claimed that the left-wing Antifa movement is "cooperating" with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. Altun's comment came after U.S. President Donald Trump said that he would declare the Antifa movement a terrorist organization over its role at protests and riots in the country.
Turkey's transportation workers marching to the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) headquarters in the capital Ankara to criticize the "unlawful layoffs" in the institution arrived on June 4. Condemning the layoffs of dozens of TCDD workers and dozens more have been assigned to remote locations in an unprecedented practice. After a confrontation with police, the workers held a press conference and met with the TCDD general manager.
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.
Prime Minister of the Netherlands said that travelers returning from Turkey would be placed under quarantine for 15 days, and urged citizens to avoid traveling to the country if possible. Turkey remains on an "orange list" of countries to be avoided if possible, potentially hurting an otherwise frugal touristic relationship between the states.
The administration of the Edirne Prison has censored letters sent by former Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, his wife Başak Demirtaş said in a tweet, while also sharing pictures of the censored letters. "What's next?" she asked the justice ministry.
Police officers have made their dogs attack a couple when raiding their house in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, resulting in injuries. The couple, Menice Yılmaz and Şeyhmus Yılmaz, filed a complaint after the incident. Diyarbakır Governor's Office released a statement on the issue, saying that Şeyhmus Yılmaz "kicked the dog and the dog attacked as a result."
The Turkish army has dismissed 4,562 personnel and stripped 531 retired soldiers of their ranks since the country's two-year emergency rule came to an end in 2018, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.
Turkish schools will start the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 31 to provide three-week long make-up classes, as students missed more than two months of classroom instruction because of the novel coronavirus.
Consumer prices in Turkey rose in May compared to the same month last year, the country's statistical authority said on June 3. According to the TÜİK data, the lowest annual increase in inflation was 2.98 percent in communication. Larger rises were seen in alcoholic beverages and tobacco with 21.41 percent.
Vural Özdemir writes: Turkey has reopened to a new normal on June 1. The new normal is a red herring; a smoke screen to manufacture consent to put unchecked political power, profits and wealth over health. There will be a greater risk for conflict in the next 12 months in societies divided into haves and have-nots with the pandemic.
A hotel in the western Turkish beach town of Bodrum tried to cover a beach with marble shavings, trying to pass it off as white sand. While Mayor Ahmet Aras said they'd sent the white powder off to a lab for analysis, he added that similar fraudulent attempts had been stopped around the district recently.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on June 2 announced that it is launching investigations into digital services taxes that have been adopted or are under consideration in a host of trading partners to determine whether they are discriminatory and burden U.S. commerce. The investigations will examine taxes that have been adopted in Austria, India, Indonesia, Italy and Turkey.
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.
A recent survey by private pollster AREA Research revealed Turkey's opposition İYİ Party coming in third in a potential election, following the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition CHP. The AKP's coalition partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ranked fifth, following pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).
Turkey's higher education workers find that the country's remote education practice has hurt institutions' autonomy, and has caused a deterioration in the quality of education. "All higher education institutions have been connected to a more centralized, uniform, more hierarchical and imperialistic system," Çukurova University's Prof. Adnan Gümüş said.
Watermelon farmers in the southern province of Adana are grateful to be harvesting their watermelon crops, after a period of not knowing whether they'd be allowed to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As citrus fruits burned before becoming ripe because of an early heat wave, Adana farmers turn to watermelon to make it through harvest season.
The governor's office of the northern province of Düzce removed a ban on alcohol sales in restaurants that it placed under the guise of COVID-19 prevention measures following criticism. The decision came after a meeting with local labor representatives who had publicly slammed the ban.
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Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by former Turkish diplomat Aydın Selcen to discuss the latest foreign policy moves of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. While analyzing the consequences of Turkey's military involvement in Libya, they look for answers whether Ankara could manage to turn its "military success" into viable polities. They also debate if a new Turkish military intervention into Syria looms on the horizon.
Murat Yetkin writes: January 2020 was a turning point in terms of Turkish-Italian relations. It would soon become clear that this wasn’t limited to diplomatic relations. We now learned that the two countries were conducting a joint intelligence operation amid the COVID-19 epidemic. Nevertheless, the most evident aspect, at the time, had to do with diplomacy.
The head of the Russian Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation, Dmitry Shugayev, said that Moscow is awaiting Ankara's final decision on the delivery of the second batch of Russia's S-400 missile defense systems. "Dialogue on the deliveries of the second regimental batch of the S-400 are on quite an advanced stage, and we await the final decision of the Turkish side," he said.
A boxing tournament in Turkey will be named after the late Turkish-Armenian boxing champion Garbis Zakaryan, HDP deputy Garo Paylan announced. Zakaryan, who was known as the “Iron Fist” and was Turkey's first professional and national boxer, passed away on January 25 of this year at the age of 89.
The construction project for the general directorate building of the Turkish Central Bank's Istanbul Finance Center was awarded to the pro-government Limak Holding company in a closed-doors agreement, according to a report on the daily Sözcü. Central Bank authorities declined to respond to questions from Sözcü concerning other firms that offered bids or the amount of other offers, Sözcü said.
Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş has warned municipality personnel against engaging in public political arguments on social media platforms. “In their posts and in the images they use, they should refrain from including expressions, symbols, emblems, and other open references to affiliation with a political party," Yavaş said in his directive.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has announced that the municipality has a project to build cemevis, places of worship for Turkey’s Alevi minority, across the city. "I am announcing this for the first time. This was something that always lied in my heart,” İmamoğlu said on June 2.
The presidential communications director of Turkey, which is the country that ranks near bottom of various press freedom indexes and is the world's biggest jailer of journalists, condemned the wounding of TRT World journalists by police in the United States and urged press freedom. "Press freedom is the backbone of democracy," Fahrettin Altun tweeted late on June 1. "I will raise this issue with the relevant U.S. officials without delay," he also said.
Convicted mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı has visited MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli at the MHP headquarters in the capital Ankara. Çakıcı was released from jail in April as part of an amnesty law drafted by the ruling AKP and its ally MHP.
An Istanbul diver recorded underwater footage in the Bosphorus that revealed masks and gloves, used recently for COVID-19 prevention. The diver said that he hasn't noticed a change in the amount of solid waste in the Bosphorus during the COVID-19 isolation period.
The Istanbul Governor's Office said on June 1 that they had not permitted a concert by Grup Yorum, refuting an announcement by the leftist band. Two of Grup Yorum's members died recently after death fasts to demand that the bans on the band's concerts are lifted and terrorism charges against members are removed.
Agricultural lands belonging to Assyrians were reportedly illegally grabbed by a Kurdish family in the southeastern province of Mardin. The owner of the lands filed a complaint about the incident that took place last year, but no action was taken for the return of them, Syriac Press reported.
Syrian refugee children in Turkey have been facing difficulties in accessing distance education during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since many lack the necessary technological equipment to continue their education and live in crowded households, Syrian refugee children are among those who have limited access.
Turkish factchecking organization Teyit revealed that pro-government Demirören News Agency used a manipulated picture in its report on a Greek flag being hung on an Ottoman mosque. Teyit said that the photograph DHA released had been taken in 2015 and that the flag had been digitally added to the image.
Ankara prosecutors have submitted to the Justice Ministry summary of proceedings seeking to have legislative immunity lifted for two main opposition CHP lawmakers for their remarks criticizing Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun's controversial construction in Istanbul. If the CHP lawmakers' parliamentary immunity is lifted, then the legal proceedings will go through and the opposition lawmakers will face charges of “insulting a public officer.”
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has said that a taxi driver had his license revoked after battering a Moroccan woman passenger in February. The municipality said that the driver clasped the woman by the throat in an attempt to get the taxi fare of 22 Turkish Liras.
The motive behind the killing of a 20-year-old man in the Turkish capital Ankara has created controversy, with initial reports saying that he was killed in a racially-motivated murder although latter reports painted a completely different picture. Initial reports on May 31 said that he was the victim of racism, which prompted outrage on social media, but his family on June 1 denied such claims.
Residents of Turkey's provinces under COVID-19 lockdowns flocked to streets, bus stations and even the beach after midnight. As businesses reopened and daily life returned to pre-coronavirus activity, traffic congestion in Istanbul rose to 26 percent by 7.30 a.m. on June 1.
The southeastern province of Gaziantep once again received almost half of all fines issued nationwide for violating the weekend curfew. A total of 5,108 fines were issued to individuals during the curfew, while 16 businesses were fined for operating during the curfew.
The influential philosopher, academic, writer and translator Oruç Aruoba, often referred to as the "Turkish Nietzsche," passed away at the age of 72 on May 31. Aruoba was instrumental in bringing a number of classics of literature, poetry and philosophy into the Turkish language as the translator of works by writers such as Hume, Rilke, Wittgenstein, Von Hentig, Basho, and Celan.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed those deeming Istanbul's conquest by the Ottoman Empire "an occupation," a week after Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy called it as such. "In the recent days, some ignorant people are attempting to describe it as occupation," Erdoğan said a week after Ersoy called it an occupation.
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 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the government would be implementing new tobacco taxes, because they love smokers and they want to discourage their habit. The president is a life-long campaigner against tobacco, even known to have confiscated cigarettes from people.
Turkish daily Cumhuriyet was forced to publish three disclaimers over a report on Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun's controversial construction. It published three "reply and correction" disclaimers on its front page over its report that the Istanbul Municipality demolished a pergola and fireplace which were "illegally" constructed on a plot rented by Altun overlooking the Bosphorus in the Kuzguncuk district.
Thousands of Twitter users have marked the seventh anniversary of Gezi Park protests on May 31 via sharing pictures and quotes from the landmark demonstrations, while also commemorating those killed by police. Initially centered in Istanbul, the protests spread to all over Turkey starting from June 1, as millions took to the streets to raise their voices against police brutality and government policies. It turned into the largest wave of protests against the government in Turkey's history.
The Turkish Culture and Tourism has cancelled a project that sought to build a boat yard in Antalya's Manavgat district, and instead leased the land for the construction of four golf hotels. NGOs in the area announced that they will take the government's move to the court as the new project is against the interests of the locals.
If parliamentary elections were held today in Turkey, just four political parties would exceed the 10 percent election threshold, according to a recent survey. The study put support at 34.49 percent for the ruling AKP, 30.65 percent for the main opposition CHP, 10.37 percent for the HDP, 10.25 percent for the İYİ Party and 8.15 percent for the MHP.
Turkey's probation law, implemented in 2005, allows courts to custom-tailor punishments to convicts. Some "sentences" that persons were handed were taking a spouse out to dinner, a ban on approaching the sea, watching sports competitions outside and distribute pamphlets about drunk driving.
İzmir's Efes Selçuk district, most well-known for the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, one of Turkey's most iconic tourist destinations, has launched a sweeping project focusing on local, sustainable agricultural production. “The coronavirus became a very clear indicator for why we started this. We need to incentivize production, and get people involved in agriculture, because there is already enough of an unemployment problem in this country,” Efes Selçuk Mayor Filiz Çeritoğlu Şengel told Duvar.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said that it will not be easy to import goods apart from those considered essential during the coronavirus pandemic, which has battered the economy of Turkey and its trading partners. He added that the amount of support credit funds that have been distributed in Turkey due to the pandemic has reached the 252 billion TL mark.
Turkish Health Ministry will reportedly use loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to construct a pandemic hospital in Istanbul. The ministry borrowed 200 million euros for the hospital, which is being constructed on the now-defunct Atatürk Airport by Rönesans Holding, daily Sözcü columnist Çiğdem Toker reported on May 27.
Turkey's private sector held $177.6 billion in foreign debt as of March this year, according to the most recent figures from Turkey's Central Bank. 61.8% of this debt was denominated in dollars and 33.5% in euros, while only 3% was held in Turkish lira.
Urban Beat
The internationally famed Turkish cook Nusret Gökçe, also known as "Salt Bae," said in a recent interview with daily Sabah that his application for a U.S. visa got rejected nine times in the past, as he urged his fans to "never give up." "My application for a U.S. visa got rejected nine times in the past. Now when I land, I get personally escorted by CIA and FBI agents to go through customs. So it's really important to never give up and continue to fight," he said.
Yiğit O. Özdemir writes: Today, what we know of as Istanbul's Istiklal Avenue was originally called Grande Rue de Pera. It is where decisions are made, especially when it comes to how and with which tools will “urban plunder” be managed. Mechanisms of consent and resistance are formed here. The victories and defeats of campaigns about urban space happen here.
The 14th-century Güvercinada Castle in the Aegean province of Aydın was designated a tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site. The castle is located on an island named after it, which is connected to a nearby Kuşadası via a causeway, creating a unique landscape.
Serpil Kurtay reports: In a joint effort between Gökçeada mayor Ünal Çetin and bio-architect Merve Tekin Sezgin, a 'children's village' is planned to be established on the island, and will function as a place for children to take part in decision-making and creating infrastructure together.
Turkish Spider-Man Burak Soylu has distributed candy to entertain children at home amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "I threw candy to children in their balconies. They experienced Eid to some extent. I'm happy to see children smile," he said.