The death toll following the 6.8-magnitude quake of Jan. 24 has risen to 39, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said Jan. 27. Rescue operations are ongoing for survivors. Some 2,945 buildings in Elazığ and neighboring Malatya are damaged: 12 to be demolished immediate and 1,287 beyond repair.
Turkey was shaken with multiple earthquakes on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23, with the western province of Manisa witnessing over 160 aftershocks following a 5.4-magnitude earthquake. A short while later, the capital Ankara was also hit by a 4.5-magnitude earthquake. No casualties were reported.
Tensions between Turkey and Greece have intensified in recent days over decades-long disputes in the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. Ankara has called on Athens to demilitarize 16 Greek islands near its coast, whereas Athens threatened to block Libya peace efforts unless Turkey-Libya accord was scrapped. Meanwhile, Greek Cyprus accused Turkey of being "a pirate state" over its drilling actions in the Mediterranean Sea.
Turkey will screen passengers on all flights from China with thermal cameras upon arrival, the Health Ministry said on Jan. 23. The precautionary move comes amid the outbreak of a new deadly new virus in China. Meanwhile, Turkey's embassy in Beijing has warned citizens against travelling to the country.
Currently, 59 German citizens are in Turkish prisons, and another 74 German citizens are barred from leaving Turkey pending investigation, German Foreign Ministry has announced. German Chancellor Merkel is expected to discuss this issue during her meeting with Turkish President Erdoğan in Istanbul on Jan. 24.
Turkey remains 110th in the Economist's latest global democracy index. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) categorized Turkey as the only “hybrid regime” in western Europe -- the second lowest after “authoritarian regime.”
Foreign powers agreed at a summit in Berlin on Jan. 19 to shore up a shaky truce in Libya. German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that the Berlin summit, attended by the main backers of the rival Libyan factions, had agreed that a tentative truce in Tripoli over the past week should be turned into a permanent ceasefire to allow a political process to take place.
Duvar reporters write from the earthquake zone: The people of Elazığ spent the second night following the quake on the pavements of Gazi Street, the city’s main boulevard. Fires lit up every 10 meters were hardly enough to help them brace the -10 Celsius temperatures.
Melek Çetinkaya has been struggling to prove the innocence of her son, who was a cadet sentenced to life in prison on charges related to the coup attempt of July 15, 2016. "This is a political ruling and not a legal one. In order for this crime to take place, the students should've left the barracks on purpose and staged an act. They had no idea what they were involved in," Çetinkaya told Duvar English.
Turkish President Erdoğan has criticized Libya's Haftar for not signing a ceasefire deal during a peace summit in Berlin last week. Speaking in Istanbul after talks with German Chancellor Merkel, Erdoğan said: “The support putschist Haftar was given has spoiled him."
Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate has cancelled press cards of many journalists working for opposition newspapers Birgün, Evrensel and Cumhuriyet. A number of journalism organizations slammed the cancellations, urging the authorities to backtrack on their "unlawful" decision.
The management of a jail in the eastern Turkish province of Elazığ is pressuring political prisoners to wear an ID card reading “convicted of terrorism.” HDP MP Gergerlioğlu submitted a parliamentary question regarding the issue, asking Justice Minister Gül on what kind of a legal regulation the jail “justifies” its implementation.
Selahattin Demirtaş has said that a left 'democracy block' can only be achieved if smaller fractions refrain from prioritizing their agenda, adding that the issue distracts politicians from addressing the real needs of the people. It might be possible for an alliance to form between the HDP and the new parties founded by Davutoğlu and Babacan if they participate in the democratization process, he said.
Turkish state railways (TCDD) has increased monthly train membership card prices by up to 400 percent, causing outcry on social media. According to Turkey's United Transportation Union (BTS), the government plans to privatize the state railways, which is why they went for these price hikes. "They started to implement price hikes so that [TCDD] won't be at a loss when they transfer it over to the private sector," said an official from the union.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Jan. 23 that Russia's S-400 missile defense system was compatible with NATO, amid an ongoing rift between the alliance and Ankara on the issue. "We believe the S-400 and F-35 are compatible. It does not pose any threats to the NATO system or to NATO allies," he said, as he suggested the formation of a working group to study the issue.
Despite the fact that armored police vehicles can be found every 100 meters in Istanbul's Gazi neighborhood, youth street gangs run wild in the area. Residents are of the opinion that the gangs are "being protected" by the authorities.
A message of peace and unity was the main idea in a letter to the third Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) conference from Selahattin Demirtaş and Abdullah Zeydan, former co-chair and former deputy of the pro-Kurdish HDP. "We must demonstrate with small and meaningful gestures the respect we have for Turkish values and our sincerity about living together," said the letter from Edirne Prison.
A couple -- one of whom is a former public servant who was dismissed from his job by a government decree -- has been trying for months to sell their house due to financial difficulties. As the sacked employee is classified "in the risk group" in the deed directorate system, the sale cannot be actualized. HDP MP Gergerlioğlu submitted a parliamentary question regarding this issue, asking how authorities decide if someone is in "the risk group" or not.
German Chancellor Merkel will hold a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Erdoğan in Istanbul on Jan. 24. Amnesty International wants Merkel to tell Erdoğan that jailed rights activist Osman Kavala needs to be immediately released and terrorism charges against Amnesty International's Turkey chair Taner Kılıç should be dropped.
Garo Paylan, an MP from the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) has filed a parliamentary question about the historic Armenian building Sanasaryan Han. "Will Sanasaryan Han's ownership be turned over to the Armenian people like it was intended?" he asked.
U.S. President Donald Trump confused the Kurds of Syria and Iraq in a meeting with Nechirvan Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Jan. 22. “As you know, we left Syria from the standpoint of the border. And that’s worked out great with Turkey. They have the so-called safe zone and I appreciate everything you’ve done to keep it as safe as possible," Trump told Barzani.
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that Turkey's Central Bank is as independent as the U.S. Federal Reserve in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. He met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin amid an ongoing rift between Ankara and Washington over U.S. probe of Turkish state-run bank Halkbank on charges of aiding a years-long scheme to help Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions.
Turkey's center-right parties are reportedly preparing to form an alliance to challenge the People's Alliance consisting of the ruling AKP and its nationalist ally MHP in the next elections. Contrary to the Nation Alliance of the last elections, the main opposition CHP won't be included in the alliance formed by these nationalist-conservative parties, Birgün reported on Jan. 23.
Lawyers of PKK leader Öcalan and three other inmates on İmralı Island have applied to Turkey's Constitutional Court following the authorities' move to extend a three-month visitation ban for family members for the fifth time in the last 15 months.
Agriculture and Forest Labor Union head Şükrü Durmuş has said that 90 percent of the tree saplings planted last year as part of an event died. "We and forestry scientists alike had warned that the conditions for this endeavor were not appropriate. In a season where there is not enough rain, we said that it was wrong to launch this campaign solely for the purpose of entering the Guinness Book of World Records," he said.
Drawings distributed by the Education Ministry to school counselors have sparked a debate over their negative depiction of women with no headscarves. Aimed at helping counselors support children post-trauma, the pamphlets used a doctor with a headscarf as the protagonist in a story about sexual harassment, while a woman without a headscarf was the unwelcome neighbor approaching a child.
Islamist writer Abdurrahman Dilipak has said that marijuana is not harmful and can be used a preventative measure to steer people away from more harmful drugs, in a column for the daily Akit newspaper on Jan. 23. "The criminal risk potential of marijuana is very low, as is the biological risk. You know, they say 'the hair of the dog that bits you,' could marijuana be a solution to save [people] from drugs?" he wrote.
Two improvised explosive devices went off in the early hours of Jan. 23 in the central Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, the Governor's Office said. The devices were placed at the entrance of two apartment buildings, shattering the windows of an apartment nearby.
A total of 131 suspects were handed prison terms on Jan. 22 in the case into the illegal wiretapping by Gülenists. Those sentenced include police chiefs that carried out Dec. 17-25, 2013 graft probes, which targeted former ministers and are deemed as attempts to overthrow the government by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
AKP group deputy chair Mehmet Muş has submitted a draft bill to the parliament seeking to grant watchmen the authority to ask identification from people and detain them. The AKP's move came in the wake of two court rulings which said that the watchmen do not have the “authority to ask for identification as per their job definition.”
Some 150 types of medicine are currently unavailable in pharmacies across Turkey as medical firms and depots have suspended the release of products amid upcoming price hikes due on Feb. 15, said a deputy of the main opposition CHP. The Turkish Pharmacists' Association confirmed that pharmacies are running out of medicine, saying the Euro exchange rate set for the pricing of medicines is set to increase by 10-11 percent.
In a filing in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors said Halkbank should be fined an initial $1 million a day for contempt of court and which could double each week to counter the bank's "obstinacy" in refusing to defend itself in court. The proposed fine could total $7 million after the first week of non-compliance and $21 million after two weeks, and nearly $1.8 billion by the end of eight weeks.
Bilal Erdoğan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son, has criticized Turkey's intellectuals for being "outdated." “Unfortunately our 20th century intellectuals weren't able to follow the world and they missed out. How did they miss out? When the Young Turks went to Europe for education, to France in particular, they were influenced by the positivist trends," Bilal Erdoğan said.
Turkey's Supreme Election Board (YSK) Sadi Güven has said that the practice of using envelopes when casting votes should be removed. "The practice of using envelopes was removed in many countries. The envelopes need to be removed after making ballot boxes opaque instead of transparent with a change in legal regulations," he said.
Inmates are being restricted access to books, the daily Evrensel newspaper reported. Prisoners' books are routinely confiscated and have been punished for writing poetry in their notebooks. “Our right to obtain information is being violated. The books we read are separated into a different section and we can only exchange them with others in every 15 days by writing a petition," a prisoner said.
Good Party leader Meral Akşener said that she can't predict whether the country will have early elections because the decision is up to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. "We could be casting ballots with one executive order," Akşener said, adding that she wasn't aware of Good Party member Lütfü Türkkan's tweet from Jan. 19 asking "How's Sunday June 28 for elections?"
Turkey's former Prime Minister Davutoğlu has accused economy administration of manipulating inflation figures. "Competent people need to be in charge of this administration. Think about a doctor who tells his patient that he is fine by changing his test results. The patient says 'I'm dying,' but the doctor says, 'Look at the figures, your test results are fine.' The economy administration in Turkey is doing exactly this," he said.
Prof. Naci Görür, a member of Turkey's The Science Academy, said the southern delta of Kanal Istanbul will be "violently impacted" by the long-awaited Istanbul earthquake. Görür said that the land surrounding the southern mouth of the canal, between the two Çekmece Lakes, contained many fault lines, and the continent shelf was highly fragmented, a huge risk in a possible earthquake.
The Turkish drama producer Ay Yapım has refuted the claims that their new TV series 'Babil' – which centers around a sacked university professor – was being investigated for allegedly “making propaganda” on behalf of the Gülen movement. Following its first episode on Jan. 17, the new series became a hot topic on social media, with several users suggesting that the hardships that the main character faces are parallel to those experienced by Turkey's sacked civil servants.
Turkey's Forensic Medicine Department, connected to the Justice Ministry, has been infiltrated by members of the Gülen organization, an employee of the department has claimed. Dr. Nevzat Alkan, who has worked in the department since 1993, claims that Gülenists, the main suspect behind the 2016 coup attempt, infiltrated the department because their reports are crucial to lawsuit proceedings.
In Turkey, the minimum age required to get sex reassignment surgery is 18. In order for one to change one's gender section on an identity card, the procedure must be conducted at a state hospital. Sex reassignment surgery is available in Turkey's major cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya. Those operations are not only risky but costly and those trans people that suffer complications following a procedure, no legal procedure can be launched against the doctor in question.
Turkish mezzo-soprano Lori Şen has been cast as Princess Diana at an American musical which tells the story of the beloved Princess of Wales. To prepare for her role, Şen is mastering Princess Diana's gestures, facial expressions and her style of talking.
The Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant, located in Armenia 16 kilometers from the eastern Turkish province of Iğdır, has become the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. In response to a question from main opposition CHP's deputy Deniz Yavuzyılmaz, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that the plant, which is functioning with outdated technology, presents a great risk to the region but did not specify what, if any, precautions were being taken on Turkey's part.
Journalist Sevim Kahraman and area resident Özkan Ulucan of the northeastern, mountainous province of Dersim have filmed a short documentary about the area's mountain goats, which are considered holy by locals, the vast majority of whom adhere to the Alevi faith.
Editor's Picks
Luke Frostick writes: Turkey's foreign policy is in a muddle. Turkey's relationship with its NATO allies is strained to the point of crumbling. It has failed to build new alliances in the Middle East, quite the opposite in fact, and has shown its vulnerability to Iran and Russia, its traditional regional rivals. In his new book Erdoğan’s Empire, Soner Çağaptay breaks down the geopolitics of the AKP era in forensic detail.
Taner Akçam writes: Why did they not kill Hrant Dink in front of his house? Or, why did they not kidnap him, kill him and throw his body somewhere, as they did in other unresolved murders? If they had wanted, they would have done each of these easily. But instead of those actions, they killed him in front of Agos, on the street, in broad daylight, before the eyes of everybody. The reason is that they wanted to take revenge on the Armenians by avenging the death of Talat Pasha.
Politics
The staff of İncirlik military air base in Turkey’s southern Adana province is being reduced by 424 employees. The U.S. company handling maintenance services on the air base cited “the U.S.' reducing its presence in Syria” as the reason of the staff reduction, according to an official of the Turkish Defense Workers' Trade Union.
The Ankara First Heavy Penal Court has released its justified decision on ruling for the acquittal of 19 suspects, including former Interior Minister Mehmet Ağar, in the case into 18 unsolved murders that were committed in 1990s, deeming all reports by Turkish Intelligence Agency (MİT), parliament, ministries and commissions "insufficient" to convict the suspects.
SDF commander Mazloum Kobani has said that they are ready for dialogue with Turkey. "We have tried our best to fix our problems with Turkey. As the SDF, as the YPG, we have had direct talks with Turkey in the past and are ready to do so again. We want peace," Kobani said. "Turkey should never mistake our goodwill for weakness and should be prepared to reciprocate our goodwill," he added.
The manufacturer Boeing had fault in the crash of a Boeing 737-NG from the Turkish Airlines fleet in 2009, The New York Times reported. The aircraft was an earlier version of the Boeing 737-Max, the grounded plane that killed 346 people in crashes in Indonesia and Malaysia. Expert reports that are unavailable to the public revealed "risky design choices and faulty safety assessments" on the part of Boeing.
As the row over the AKP and the main opposition CHP over Kanal Istanbul continues, a report by daily Cumhuriyet said that Finance Minister Berat Albayrak purchased land on the route of the controversial canal a year after President Erdoğan announced the plans to build it. Albayrak's lawyer Ahmet Özel released a statement shortly after Cumhuriyet's report, saying that "it was an ordinary purchase."
Researcher Elif Sandal Önal was one of the many "Academics for Peace" - a group of more than 2,000 people who signed a controversial petition that was released in January 2016 and that condemned the Turkish military's heavy use of violence in certain southeastern, predominantly Kurdish districts of Turkey. Like many of the signatories, Önal was fired from her job and sought exile abroad. Now settled in Germany, the academic says he "has no intention of returning to Turkey."
After meeting with jailed philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala at Silivri Prison, Süleyman Bülbül, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party, has said that Kavala feels his right to a fair trial has been violated. Kavala has been jailed pending trial for over two years. Bülbül also spoke with lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı and musician İbrahim Gökçek about their time in prison.
A military diplomatic source told TASS that the deal signed between Ankara and Moscow regarding the S-400 missile defense systems doesn't include technology transfers, even if it's partial. The source also said that more than 120 surface-to-air guided missile have been supplied by Russia to Turkey along with a regiment set of S-400 systems.
Turkey's Court of Cassation has approved a 12-year jail term for Feti Ün, the lawyer of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic preacher believed to have masterminded the 2016 botched coup attempt. Ün was charged with being a member of "FETÖ", the term Ankara uses to refer to the Gülen organization.
The Assad regime has invited representatives of the country's Syrian Kurdish parties to Damascus. The de facto autonomous region of northern Syria known as Rojava also received an invitation, but their officials were asked to send a delegation that consists of only "Kurdish representatives," excluding Arabs.
President Erdoğan has said that Somalia has invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas and Ankara will take steps in line with the Somali invitation, without elaborating further. "There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: 'There is oil in our seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here.' This is very important for us," Erdoğan said on Jan. 20.
The European Union is working on a list of names to enforce sanctions on Turkey for searching and drilling for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean, the bloc's foreign affairs commissioner Josep Borrell has said. Borrell noted that Greek Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides gave a briefing on the matter.
The assailant who targeted the HDP's Istanbul headquarters last week has been arrested on charges of “using unregistered firearm” and “disturbing the public peace.” The gunman told the authorities that he had come to Istanbul from the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri just to undertake this attack and had scouted the area for two days prior to the incident.
According to a poll carried out by Metropoll research company, the gap between the popularity ratings of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is closing. Erdoğan topped the list with 50.2 percent popularity rating, while İmamoğlu ranked second with 48.6 percent. Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş ranked third on the list with 38.8 percent.
Residents of the Gürgen village in the Black Sea province of Rize's Güneysu district--the hometown of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's father--protested against the construction of a hydroelectric powerplant. “The operation here is against the law and has no legal basis, leave our village, we will not give you permission to take our land and destroy our river,” the villagers said.
Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament (EP) Amor has congratulated Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu for winning last year's mayoral election "twice." “I congratulate you twice, because you won the election twice. This process means a new political expansion for your country. And you, in an unexpected way, became a political figure,” Amor told İmamoğlu during their meeting.
The new ISIS leader has reportedly been identified as Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi, one of the founding members of the group, the Guardian reported. While Salbi became head of the group hours after the killing of former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group had initially released what turned out to be a nom de guerre in order to protect Salbi's identity.
Due to anti-vaccination sentiment that has increased in Turkey in recent years, the number of those refusing to vaccinate their children has skyrocketed from 183 to 23,000 in only 7 years. The consequences for public health have also quickly revealed themselves, as the number of those catching measles during the first 9 months of last year increased fivefold compared to the same period in 2018, reaching 2666.
Founder of Turkey's first environmental association and nicknamed "Grandpa Earth," Hayrettin Karaca died at the age of 97. Best known for establishing the Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA), Karaca was awarded the Forest Hero Award from the United Nations in 2013. “We are deeply sorry for the loss of our Founding Honorary President and our Grandpa Earth, Mr. Hayrettin Karaca.” TEMA said on Twitter.
Unknown assailants have broken into Istanbul's Pir Sultan Abdal Cemevi, spraying threats on its walls and ground such as "It is not over" and "Die." Authorities on Jan. 20 announced that an investigation was launched into the incident.
Former Lt. Gen. Metin İyidil was arrested on Jan. 16 two days after he was acquitted and released from prison. "All of my activities on the night of the coup were aimed at preventing the coup," İyidil told the court on Jan. 16, adding that he served the state for 44 years. Three people were detained on Jan. 16 over attempting to help İyidil escape, including TFF Chair Nihat Özdemir's son Batuhan Özdemir.
Pharmacies in Istanbul have been unable to sell vaccination against HPV - a virus that can cause genital warts, cervical cancer and penile cancer. Erdoğan Çolak, the Chair of the Pharmacists' Association of Turkey, says this has to do with the fact that exporters are unwilling to sell products for low-marked prices and delay deliveries.
Rahşan Ecevit, wife of late Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, died at the age of 97 at a hospital in the capital Ankara on Jan. 17. She was the founder and first leader of Turkey's Democratic Left Party (DSP).
The Journalists Union of Turkey and its LGBTİ+ Commission have launched a book campaign and are receiving donations for female journalists in prison. Melike Aydın, Ruken Demir and Sadiye Eser have been imprisoned for over 40 days. They have yet to see a judge or have their trial set. "Our fight will continue until journalists gain their freedom," the Union's press release said.
Turkish and Syrian heads of intelligence met in Moscow on Jan. 13, in the first official contact in years, a senior Turkish official and Syrian news agency SANA said. Turkey's intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, and his Syrian counterpart discussed the ceasefire in Syria's Idlib, and possible coordination against the Kurdish presence in northern Syria.
Anadolu Agency employees, who were detained by Egyptian police earlier this week in Cairo, were released on Jan. 19, the agency's head said. Anadolu Agency Director General Şenol Kazancı said that three Egyptian citizens of Anadolu Agency staff were released for some $600 bail on each.
As thousands of passengers suffered from delays and cancellations in flights during last week's storms at Istanbul's new airport, Atatürk Airport continued to function properly, with Russian President Vladimir Putin using it. Atatürk Airport started to be used for cargo planes following the transfer of flights to the new airport - a move the opposition continues to criticize due to continuing disrupts in flights at the new one.
A more than two-year block on online encyclopedia Wikipedia was lifted on Jan. 15 at around 10.30 p.m. local time, putting an end to the ban put in place in April 2017 due to entries that accused Turkey of having links to terrorist organizations. Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said last week that the website would be reopened once the Constitutional Court reveals its justified decision on the ruling.
A Turkish court on Jan. 14 released Assyrian priest Sefer Bileçen on judicial control, four days after his arrest on charges of "aiding and abetting" the outlawed PKK. Bileçen is said to be the only caretaker of the Mor Yakup Monastery in Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin.
The new headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) was opened on Jan. 6 in a ceremony attended by President Erdoğan, MİT chief Hakan Fidan and government officials. Erdoğan praised MİT in his speech repeatedly, saying that the agency assumed a leading role in combat zones via preparing the ground for security forces. "Likewise, they are fulfilling their duties thoroughly in Libya," he said.
A five-century old pitcher was stolen from the house of Koç Holding Board Chairman Ömer Koç. The theft was immediately reported to the police and an official report was written. The pitcher was determined to be of 5,000 Turkish Liras worth and to date back to the 16th century.
A court has ruled to keep former Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-chair Sebahat Tuncel and former co-mayor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır Gültan Kışanak in jail. Lawyers of Kışanak and Tuncel said that their clients are politicians and their political acts can't be accepted as PKK membership or propaganda, while also demanding their release.
Turkey's Mosul Consul General Mehmet Küçüksakallı said that Turkey's consulate in the northern Iraqi city will be reopened later this year, after having been out of operation since 2014 when ISIS stormed the consulate and took dozens of employees hostage. "Within 2020 the consulate will be open again and start to provide visa services. I am encouraging our businessmen to take on important infrastructure projects," he said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has carried out two unannounced visits to Islamist İsmailağa community leaders late on Jan. 12. Pictures from his visit were shared by one of the members of the group, prompting criticism on social media over the government's relations with Islamic cults in Turkey.
In the Eğil district of the predominantly-Kurdish, southeastern province of Diyarbakır, due to the fact that studetns in the Şehit Mehmet Aygün Middle School lack an actual computer class, they have built their own from cardboard and paper. Their teacher, Orkun Şahin, in spite of the successful project, his students' biggest dream was to be able to access and use real computers.
A Turkish court has ordered former HDP co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ to pay 1,740 Turkish Liras ($291) for “insulting” President Erdoğan. "As a politician, I can make harsh criticisms. This should not be a crime,” Yüksekdağ told the court on Jan. 7.
A majority of the Turkish population thinks that Turkey should remain a NATO, a survey by private polling company Metropoll revealed. The poll also asked participants how they think Turkey should position itself between the US and Russia, and half of the participants said Ankara should remain neutral.
Some 94 women have been killed while under state protection between 2015 and 2019, the Turkish Interior Ministry said. The ministry also said that over 1 million incidents of violence against women occurred between 2014 and 2019, leading to the death of 1,890 women.
Water prices have increased by up to 330 percent in Diyarbakır. This raise was introduced by the municipal council formed by the trustee who replaced elected Mayor Selçuk Mızraklı. The price hikes were decided during a municipal council that was held Dec. 27. The public wasn't informed of the changes.
Turkey's National Women's Volleyball Team has earned a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics by beating Germany 3-0 at the CEV Tokyo Volleyball European Qualification. The women's team won second place at the European Championship last summer, and the Turkish women's team was last at the Olympics in 2012.
In publication since 2016, Psychology Kurdi is the first magazine to cover the discipline of psychology from the perspective of the Kurdish language. It provides a place for important articles on the trauma that Kurds have experienced. "Our purpose is to open the door for Kurdish as a scientific language to be used in the field of psychology," says the magazine's editor Abdulsıttar Özmen.
A mega yacht once belonging to the inventory of the Turkish navy has been restored and added to the inventory of the Presidency. Vice President Fuat Oktay told the yacht was transferred to the Presidency on March 16. It was previously used by the navy to transport personnel.
Some 50 sick inmates died in prisons throughout 2019 in Turkey and no information on the health condition of sick prisoners can be obtained from the Justice Ministry, human rights groups said, adding that rights violations deteriorated following the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt and the subsequent state of emergency. "Eighteen prisoners are bedridden and can't fulfill their needs on their own," a human rights activist said.
A Kurdish-language weekly started publication in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır. Its name, "Xwebûn" refers to "self", "identity" and "individuality". Publisher Kadri Esen said the publication "would not belong to individuals, but to the Kurdish people".
A foreign cargo ship ran aground in Istanbul's Bosphorus strait on Dec. 27, requiring a rescue operation and prompting authorities to temporarily close the picturesque and crowded waterway running through Turkey's largest city. There were no injuries or casualties, the governor's office said, adding that the ship had reported engine failure shortly before its grounding near the shore.
Economics
Officials from Turkey's Competition Authority visited several banks late on Jan. 17 to analyze computers as they opened a wide-ranging probe of trading in the financial sector, according to three bankers. The competition authority said it was conducting “preliminary research” into banks, adding it could not say more about the effort until the process is completed.
Turkey's private sector was in more than 210 billion dollars of foreign debt at the end of November 2019, revealed the Central Bank. While $10.2 billion of the total is floating debt, almost $200 billion of the total debt is in long-term loans. While 60.9 percent of the foreign loans were in dollars, the second largest slice was euro, making up 33.7 percent.
Total assets of the Turkish banking industry have decreased by over 21 billion liras in the beginning of the year, revealed weekly money and banking statistics by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (TCMB). The dip represents a decrease of about 0,8 percent of assets. Turkish Lira assets took majority of the hit with a 0,71 percent decline while foreign currencies dropped by a mere 0,32 percent.
Housing sales have decreased by 1.9 percent in 2019, the Turkish Statistical Institute revealed. While 1,348,729 residences were sold in 2019, one third of these sales were mortgages. Istanbul was the city with the highest number of residences sold with 237,675 sales, followed by Ankara and İzmir. Residential sales to foreigners went up by 14.7 percent, reaching 45,483.
Turkey’s central bank cut its benchmark rate for the fifth time in six months, as its new governor continued to ease policy. The bank cut its key rate to 11.25 percent from 12 percent.
According to data obtained from General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre, a total of 6,694 foreigners obtained certificates of conformity in order to become Turkish citizens via purchasing real estate. The lower limit for granting citizenship via real estate purchases was decreased to $250,000 in September 2018 from one million dollars in 2017, prompting an increase in foreign investments.
Shafali Sachdev, the head of BNP Paribas' Asia-Pacific Forex Advisory and Execution, said investors should buy gold and sell currencies from oil-importing countries to protect their portfolio from Iran-US tensions.
Turkey’s biggest trade union confederation Türk-İş has calculated the hunger threshold – which indicates the minimum amount of money needed to save a four-member family from starvation a month – as 2,163 liras and the poverty threshold as 7,054 liras. The government announced on Dec. 26 that the net monthly minimum wage in the country will be 2,324 liras in 2020, up from 2,021 liras in 2019.
The Turkish Post (PTT) has totaled a loss of 1,5 billion Turkish liras over the past two years, following its transfer to Turkey Wealth Fund (TVF). At the time of the 2017 transfer, the PTT vault had a positive balance of 650 million liras and is at a negative of 900 million liras today. The TVF bought 5 million liras worth of air fresheners bought for PTT branches. 600,000 units were bought even though the PTT only has 3,800 branches.
Urban Beat
Turkey has six cities in user-generated database Numbeo's safety index rankings for 2020. Student-populated Eskişehir ranked number eight on the list with a safety rating of "high." Bursa, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Istanbul were also on the list with safety rankings of "moderate" and higher.
Istanbul’s last remaining three fish sandwich boats are soon to be shut down by authorities as the legal saga over the issue has come to an end. An Istanbul court has rejected appeals made by the owners of the three boats to continue their operations in the historic neighborhood of Eminönü.
Provided they are vaccinated, pets will now be allowed to travel aboard commercial bus rides, Turkey's Official Gazette reported on Jan. 10.
The Istanbul Municipality has announced that within 20 years there will be no space left in the city to bury the dead. “A solution needs to be found, and the best solution is to ensure that they are transported to Anatolia,” the municipality's cemeteries bureau head Dr. Ayhan Koç said.
The Istanbul Airport's security commission has banned people from welcoming arrival passengers with pickup signs. Those who do not know the person they are waiting for are required to pay a certain fee and wait for their guests at the “meeting lounge.”
Japanese author İkumi Nonaka and a friend will introduce the local point lace technique from Kastamonu in their home country. Following a seven-day training on the art, the duo have learned to make unique lace figures like cloves and violets.
The founder and head chef of Anatolian restaurant Çiya won the highest cookbook award with his book Turkish Cookbook. Musa Dağdeviren won the Gourmand award, which is considered the equivalent of a Nobel for cookbooks. The book was published by world-renowned publishing house Phaidon.