The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been testing Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son-in-law, for leadership. Albayrak has been carrying out visits across Turkey as part of the test, a source following the AKP closely told Duvar, while an analyst said that Erdoğan may hand AKP leadership over to his son-in-law since he trusts the minister.
Turkey's current account balance posted a deficit of $2.8 billion in December 2019, the Turkish Central Bank said on Feb. 14. Official data showed that the figure widened by $1.7 billion from same month the previous year.
A 14-day quarantine was lifted for Turkish citizens that were brought from Wuhan to Ankara with a cargo plane, Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Feb. 14. He added that no trace of the virus was detected in any of the patients that were placed under quarantine. Koca also said that Turkey is manufacturing coronavirus detection kits in accordance with World Health Organization standards and that some countries have already stated a demand for the kit.
Turkey has started to scan all passengers coming from international flights with thermal cameras amid coronavirus outbreak. Istanbul Airport Chief Doctor Aykut Yener Kavak told reporters on Feb. 7 that the number of thermal cameras at the airport was increased from two to six.
A total of 13 migrants, of whom 10 were Afghans and three from the Syrian border town of Kobani, were found frozen to death in the Çaldıran district of the eastern province of Van on Feb. 8 after crossing the Iran-Turkey border. People's Democratic Party (HDP) Migrant and Refugee Commission spokesperson Gülsüm Ağaoğlu branded the incident as "a shame for humanity."
A total of 41 people have been killed and 75 others injured in two avalanches in the Bahçesaray district of the eastern province of Van. The first avalanche occurred due to bad weather conditions and struck a minibus late on Feb. 4. Rescue workers had been searching for survivors when the second avalanche took place early on Feb. 5, trapping them under snow.
Over 30 dailies from the years 1928 to 1948 were digitized by Istanbul University, Dean and Prof. Mahmut Ak said. The technique of Optical Character Recognition was used for the scanning of the newspapers, allowing the digital copies to be "searchable."
Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said that the HDP should aim for coming to power in the next elections, as he suggested forming a democracy alliance. "A democracy alliance can be formed with all the political structures that can unite around a program that foresees all freedoms and a democratic society-state structuring within the framework of a new constitution," he said.
Günal Kurşun, a human rights defender being tried in the Büyükada Case, has said that the fact that he wrote for Today's Zaman is counted as criminal evidence. "Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın was also writing for the daily around the same time. A lawsuit should be filed for Kalın as well if that's the case," Kurşun told Duvar ahead of the hearing on Feb. 19.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met for a public discussion at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 15 and discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The debate saw little visible progress toward resolving the more-than-30-year-old dispute.
In response to the criticism of the army's “failure” to expel the Gülen movement's members, former army chief Hilmi Özkök said being a Gülenist did not “constitute as a crime” during his time. “Can you give a heavy penalty to someone such as 'expelling from the army' if the law considers them not to have committed a crime?” Özkök said during an interview.
Police early on Feb. 15 raided the house of Nurettin Şen, a nephew of Murat Şen, the dismissed former mayor of Şırnak's İdil district. During the raid, Murat Şen's 90-year-old mother Fatma Şen was battered by the police. "They [police] have come to my room and asked me to open the chest. After seeing nothing in the chest, they pounded the chest's cover on my hands,” Şen said.
Former AKP deputy Burhan Kuzu will be investigated over the release of Iranian drug lord Naji Sharifi Zindashti from prison. Recent reports showed that Kuzu called prosecutors and judges and told them that Zindashti’s release would be “more beneficial” for Turkish-Iranian relations. Kuzu denied the allegations against him in tweets earlier this week.
Cizrespor, a football team representing the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Cizre district, has reversed its decision to quit the Turkish league. The club announced its original decision last week in protest of ongoing discrimination against the club. After Şırnak Gov. Pehlivan held talks with the club's executives and promised to support them, Cizrespor footballers hit the field again on Feb. 15.
As the row over Gülenists' political leg continues between the government and the main opposition, President Erdoğan and CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu sued each other. Kılıçdaroğlu on Feb. 11 said that Erdoğan handed the state to Gülenists, prompting the president to file a lawsuit, demanding 500,000 Turkish Liras as compensation. The move was shortly followed by Kılıçdaroğlu also filing a lawsuit against the president.
Activists have called on Davutoğlu and Babacan, who set up their own political movements after resigning from the ruling AKP, to withdraw as plaintiffs in the Gezi Park case. Davutoğlu was the foreign minister at the time of the 2013 Gezi Park protests, whereas Babacan was the deputy minister in charge of economy.
The HDP decided during a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Feb. 13 not to amend an internal regulation that limits the party executives to two consecutive terms in their positions. Accordingly, 20 current MYK members will not be able to run for a seat in the upcoming party congress set to take place on Feb. 23.
A Mardin court has acquitted veteran Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk and Necla Yıldırım of charges that had previously led to their dismissal respectively as Mardin mayor and Mazıdağı district mayor. The investigations against Türk and Yıldırım were launched after they attended a funeral ceremony of a YPG member in 2015.
An Istanbul court has blocked access to news reports on Finance Minister Berat Albayrak's land purchase on the route of the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, including that of Gazete Duvar.
An Istanbul court has acquitted renowned novelist Aslı Erdoğan of the charge of membership of an armed "terror organization" for writing for pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem that has since been shut-down. The court also acquitted Erdoğan’s colleagues Bilge Aykut and Necmiye Alpay. The trial against other co-defendants, including human rights lawyer Eren Keskin, is to continue.
In 2009, 15-year-old Sezgi Kırıt left home and said she was going to the market. A man she met on Facebook and two of his friends took Sezgi to one of their homes, where she was given drugs and alcohol and was raped by the three men. They found her dead the next morning. More than a decade later, her rapists and murderers have still not been properly punished for their crimes.
Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a lawyer probed for referring to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu as "bald-headed" in a social media post. “Taking into account the decisions handed down by the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court regarding the politicians, the uttered statement is evaluated to be a vulgar remark [instead of insult]," the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said.
A man attempted self-immolation shouting "I'm hungry! My kids are hungry!" in front of the Parliament gates in Ankara on Feb. 13. Nearby security guards intervened, preventing the man from setting himself ablaze. The man was taken into custody by the Ankara Police on the charges of "conducting an illegal protest."
The ruling AKP has reportedly resumed an effort to transfer the main opposition CHP's 28.1 percent stake in İşbank to the Treasury. AKP deputy chair Canikli presented a draft proposal regarding the issue to Erdoğan, who called for it to be revised and presented to him again "as soon as possible," daily Hürriyet reported on Feb. 13.
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) executive board has referred three of its members to the disciplinary committee with an expulsion demand after they appeared on CNN Türk and A Haber despite a boycott decision.
A survey conducted in sixteen cities by the Sociopolitical Field Research Center revealed that while education and income levels rise among Kurdish speakers, their usage of Kurdish declines. Among those who said that they were unable to read or write, 76.2 pct said they spoke Kurdish at home while 19.8 pct spoke Turkish.
A subcompay of the Istanbul Municipality, the Istanbul Electricity, Tramway and Tunnel General Management (İETT) will oversee the Princes' Islands' transition from horse-drawn carriages to electric vehicles. Founded in 1871, IETT currently runs the iconic red tramway in Istanbul's central district of Beyoğlu.
Turkey was ranked second, following South Korea, in the use of antibiotics among OECD countries. According to data from Turkey's Health Ministry, the number of daily antibiotics used per thousand people is 31 in Turkey, while the OECD average is 18.9.
An Istanbul prosecutor has presented his final sentencing opinion regarding the case of Deniz Yücel, demanding a prison sentence of up to 15 years and three months in jail for the journalist. Yücel was jailed in Turkey from February 2017 to February 2018. After his release, he returned back to Germany.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has claimed that a minister currently in the cabinet suggested accusing him of having links to Gülenists. "Did this minister say, 'Accuse İmamoğlu of having ties to FETÖ or corruption. Our aim is to end them'? Does Erdoğan know about this plot? Was it done with his approval or does he not know about it?" İmamoğlu said, as the debate over Gülenists' political leg continues to top Turkey's agenda.
A report based on United Nations data from Turkey's 2020 Universal Periodic Review revealed that some 147 bans on demonstrations and protests have been implemented in 22 different locations across Turkey between Jan. 1, 2019 and Jan. 31, 2020. "In Turkey, the constitutional right to 'peaceful assembly and demonstration with no prior notice' has become a meaningless expression," said the report by the Turkey Human Rights Foundation (TIHV).
The fourth hearing in the second 2015 Ankara bombing case -- which was split to allow for the prosecution of fugitive suspects -- took place on Feb. 13. Özlem Alev Demirel, a Turkey-born German MEP, was barred from observing the hearing in the Ankara courthouse.
A man who interrupted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's address to members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in parliament on Feb. 12 was detained the next day. "Dear Mr. President, I got laid off from my job for participating in July 15 [2016's coup attempt]. My kids are hungry. Help me!" he shouted, as Erdoğan continued his speech.
Tensions in Idlib were carried to social media, as the embassies of the United States and Russia shared tweets that featured accusations towards one another. "The judgement is up to," the tweet sent from the Russian side read on Feb. 12, as it featured a screen grab from a video prepared by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, in addition to an infographic prepared by Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency regarding the Pentagon's support for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate, the YPG.
The historic Prinkipo Greek Orthodox Orphanage - located on Istanbul's Büyükada island and considered to be Europe's largest wooden structure and the world's second largest - is rotting and at risk of collapse. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate announced that it could not come up with enough funds to protect the building. People's Democracy Party (HDP) deputy Tuma Çelik called upon the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism to take immediate action.
Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin who grew up in Ankara was named the richest person in Russia by Forbes Magazine. Often dubbed "the Oligarch from Ankara" for the time he spent there while his father served as USSR Embassy's trade attaché, Potanin has an estimated worth of $25 billion.
Faruk Güllü, the owner of a chain of restaurants specializing in the popular regional desert baklava, has been sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison on charges of being a member in an armed terror organization by an Istanbul court. Güllü was convicted on the basis of alleged connections with Fethullah Gülen, the exiled, US-based Islamic preacher that the Turkish government accuses of being behind the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
Turkish Artist Serkan Bayer had his invitation to a Modern Turkish Art Exhibition revoked at the last minute because the Independent Art Foundation found his works that they had approved to be "obscene." "Where we see the purest state of existence, the administrators of Independent Art Foundation saw vaginas," Bayer said, adding that he had never been censored this way in his 20 years as an artist.
Turkey's former prime minister and founder of the Future Party Ahmet Davutoğlu said that he wouldn't negotiate with the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) even though he accepts the existence of a "Kurdish issue" as an academic. "If HDP distances itself from terrorism, they'll receive the treatment any other party would from us," Davutoğlu said during a broadcast on the independent news site Medyascope.
Turkish Cypriot President Akıncı's spokesman Burcu said that after Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu went as far as branding Akıncı a “supporter of terrorism” over his remarks on the prospect of annexation by Turkey, there have been death threats against the Turkish Cypriot leader even on television programs in Turkey. “What happened recently has once again show how right our President is,” said Burcu in a written statement on Feb. 11.
Turkey's Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) ruled that Turkish banks are allowed to swap only 10 percent of their legal capital. In August 2018, The BDDK had already lowered the limit of swaps, futures, forwards and options with a foreign currency and a Turkish Lira leg to 25 percent of the banks’ legal capital.
Nine students who were arrested for performing the Chilean feminist dance Las Tesis are suffering from financial consequences. Aylin Şahin's student loan payments were discontinued because of the investigation against her, and Leyla Mavili was kicked out of her dormitory after police notified the administration of her arrest.
The Ankara Municipality is working on securing loans in order to fund the construction of a new metro line in the capital, said Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş on Feb. 11. The line is planned to run six stops from the central Dikimevi station to the east, ending at the Nata Vega shopping mall in the district of Mamak.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has sentenced two people to death over the killing of Turkish diplomat Osman Köse. "The court handed sentences to six people. Two were sentenced to death, one was sentenced to a year behind bars and the remaining three were given two years in prison each," lawyer Birzo Said told Rudaw.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described social media as a "garbage dump," saying that it became a rampant environment in terms of increasing and varying cyber-bullying. "We will never surrender to this virtual world that people's rights are violated and that they are harassed, deceived, lynched, insulted," Erdoğan said, as he urged ministries to conclude their efforts on the issue rapidly.
An Urla art house hosting photo exhibitions will be closed down as of the end of February, in line with a decision taken by the government-appointed trustee. The elected mayor of the district was removed from duty on Dec 18, 2019 over alleged links to the Gülen network.
Turkish police on Feb. 11 detained a cancer patient woman upon her arrival in Istanbul due to an arrest warrant. She was later dispatched to the Bakırköy Courthouse, where the court on duty gave an order for her arrest. Kesler (53) faces charges of "making terror propaganda" and "insulting" President Erdoğan in a Facebook post. She was dispatched to a hospital after fainting in the courthouse.
Egypt's Islamic authority Dar Al Ifta has said TV shows “Resurrection: Ertuğrul” and “Valley of the Wolves” are “wretched,” and that the Turkish productions aim to further President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's dream of reviving the Ottoman Empire. “Erdoğan will not fail to actualize his dream ... through soft power, through cultural and artistic works. The best evidence of this is the series ‘Valley of the Wolves’ and the series ‘Resurrection: Ertuğrul,’” said the fatwa.
A total of 12 flamingos were found frozen to death in Ivriz Reservoir in the Halkapınar district of the central Anatolian town of Konya. Mayor Mehmet Bakkal said that around 300 flamingos take refuge in the reservoir due to the cold weather, and that the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry will determine an official cause of death for the 12 that seem to have succumbed to the cold.
The head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, Ali Erbaş envies the Middle Ages papacy, said main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Faik Öztrak. Erbaş had said during a Quran course opening Feb. 8 that anyone who supported the courses would be rewarded in heaven.
A professor from Yıldız Technical University was protested by students for his comments that implied the Jan. 24 Elazığ quake that killed 33 people was caused by the government's attempts at banning underage marriages. "By saying that marriages at the age that Allah deems helal are rape, let us not offend Allah," Gencer said. The university administration opened an investigation into his posts, and students walked out from his class on Feb. 10.
The opposition daily Evrensel newspaper has been handed a ten-day advertisement ban by the Press Advertisement Agency (BİK) after it published a story last year criticizing the agency for making it impossible for Kurdish-language newspapers to thrive in the country.
The number of child sexual abuse cases filed in Istanbul has increased in the last two years, according to a report prepared by the Istanbul Bar Association. A total of 5,254 abuse cases were launched in 2018 and 2019 in the province, said the report.
The victims of the Oct. 10, 2015 ISIS double suicide bombing on a peace rally are being commemorated by a group of activists with "tree blankets" in Ankara's Kuğulu Park. The knitting group started off making blankets for those who were wounded in the attack and as gifts to babies born afterwards.
Azeri-Turkish billionaire Mübariz Mansimov Gurbanoğlu is under investigation over suspected links to the Gülen network. Gurbanoğlu is known to have struck various deals with companies owned by the family of President Erdoğan.
Greek weekly Proto Thema distributed a booklet to its readers about the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic. "If Atatürk didn't have the courage to actualize his vision in his country, modern Turkey wouldn't exist, at least not in the way it does today," read part of the booklet. "Atatürk was a personality that had great power and widespread influence in Turkey," it added.
Turkey's opposition parties have criticized a proposed bill that seeks alternative funding for the country's megaprojects, asserting that the legislation is an attempt by a cash-strapped government to get the public to pay for its ambitious projects. The bill would enable citizens and companies to purchase securities in order to finance long-term infrastructure projects such as the controversial Kanal Istanbul megaproject.
Fenerbahçe fans have protested Minister Berat Albayrak following controversial referee decisions in a Feb. 8 game. Thousands of Fenerbahçe fans shouted slogans after the game, calling on Albayrak to quit his post, while also demanding the removal of politics from sports. Albayrak is known for his public support for Trabzonspor. "Everyone knows how we're trying hard for Trabzonspor behind the scenes," he previously said.
The thesis that cigarettes are haram (sinful) in Islam is based on the Maide and Araf sections of the Quran, said Ali Erbaş, the head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet). President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also a strong advocate of smoking cessation, calling the substance “haram” and explicitly urging his supporters to quit.
Turkey's population has increased by about 1.5 million and reached 83,154,997 citizens in 2019, the Turkish Statistical Institute said. While Istanbul remains the most populated city with over 15 million residents, the metropolis also has a population density of about 27 times the national average. The number of people per square kilometer is 108 nationally, whereas the same figure for Istanbul is 2,987.
Focus group studies regarding recent legislation regarding cigarette packaging has shown that the majority of people surveyed responded positively in the direction of quitting, said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bakir Pakdemirli. The legislation, however, has resulted in confusion for those running convenience stores, who now face an entire wall of products that look more or less the same and have more difficulty finding a customer's brand.
Hagia Sophia was the most popular touristic site of 2019 with a total of 3,727,361 visitors, Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry said. Remodeled as a mosque under the Ottoman Empire, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum in 1935. The second most visited touristic destination in 2019 was the Mevlana Museum in Rumi's birthplace, the central Anatolian province of Konya.
An area in the southeastern town of Van that features around 17,000 chimney rocks was declared a protected area on Feb. 12, the Governor of Van Mehmet Emin Bilmez said. The area is often dubbed "Vanadocia" as a play on the name Cappadocia, the picturesque region around Nevşehir known for its unique landscapes.
Mahmut Sür has been making glass evil eyes for 44 years. Registered as a 'living human treasure' by the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Sür wants to train others to carry out his craft.
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 Diyarbakır Chamber of Architects has released a report identifying serious issues with the redevelopment of Diyarbakir's historic Sur district, which involves missing or severely damaged registered historical relics and structures and new construction that is not befitting of the historic area.