A video showing President Erdoğan saying prior to 2019 local elections that he had not “lost his direction as to get played into” opening Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia for worship was widely circulated on social media on July 11 -- a day after the president handed over the iconic structure’s control to the country’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet).
The World Health Organization and Turkey on July 9 signed an agreement to open a WHO office in Istanbul. The WHO already has a country office in the capital Ankara. Speaking in the capital Ankara, Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that the WHO's new office will guide efforts to meet current needs in the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Turkish central bank’s gross foreign currency reserves decreased by $73 million over the period of June 26-July 3. State banks buying liras and selling dollars in an apparent attempt to prop up Turkey’s currency is seen by many investors as a reason for a gradual drain on the central bank’s foreign currency reserves in recent months.
A boat that sank on Van Lake in eastern Turkey is believed to have had 55 to 60 migrants onboard, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on July 8, adding that six bodies had been recovered so far. The lake is located on the path of migrants attempting to reach western Turkey from Iran, Afghanistan and other countries.
Iraqi President Barham Salih said on July 8 that neighboring Turkey must suspend its recent offensive against alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and disputed territories of Iraq. Salih “reiterated that Turkey has to suspend its military violations on the Iraqi soil."
Turkish Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said that they would decide whether classes would be carried out remotely "at the end of August, beginning of September." The academic year is scheduled to start on August 31 so far.
The British government on July 3 unveiled a list of safe destinations from where travelers will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days when they enter England. The list covers 59 countries, including Turkey and the measure will take effect from July 10.
Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice president who is now the Democratic presidential nominee, has called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to reverse the decision on Hagia Sophia, urging him to “instead keep this treasured place in its current status as a museum, ensuring equal access for all.”
Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has expressed its support for the Turkish government's decision to convert Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque. "Opening of Hagia Sophia to prayer is a proud moment for all Muslims," said Hamas in a written statement.
Turkey's Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk has criticized the Turkish government's decision to convert Hagia Sophia into a mosque, saying: "To convert it back to a mosque is to say to the rest of the world unfortunately we are not secular anymore."
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.
Journalist Pehlivan thanks friends for ‘most precious gift’ after they mark his birthday at ‘Freedom Park’
Jailed OdaTV journalist Barış Pehlivan has penned a letter thanking his friends after they marked his 37th birthday at Istanbul's “Özgürlük Parkı” (Freedom Park). “My friends, you gave me the most precious gift ever,” Pehlivan wrote in his letter.
President Erdoğan has said that it is a "great concern" for words that fuel animosity towards Islam "to be used freely." Erdoğan made the comments on July 11 while marking the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide.
Lawyers have fled a complaint with Turkey's judicial board HSK against a prosecutor for deeming sending regards to former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş as a proof of “terrorist organization membership.” In a phone call with his lawyers, jailed former DBP chair Mehmet Arslan asked them to send many greetings to Demiraş as well as two other jaled former HDP MPs, Abdullah Zeydan and Sebahat Tuncel.
Initial results of a fresh study showed that Konya's sewage has the highest COVID-19 concentration among all Turkish provinces, followed by Istanbul. A researcher has said that after Konya and Istanbul came Bursa, İzmit, İzmir and Antalya's certain regions.
A Kurdish poet and musician who was killed in the 1993 Sivas Massacre, Hasret Gültekin's statue was erected in the yard of a cemevi in the eastern province of Dersim, along with a monument commemorating the 33 other intellectuals who died in the attack. The cemevi president said that the '93 massacre was a milestone in Alevi history.
The recent introduction of the Turkish Lira in towns of northern Syrian constitutes the final step in an assimilation policy enforced by Ankara in the region, journalist and Middle East expert Bereket Kar said. Reports have shown that cash and coins were brought in through the Turkish postal service (PTT).
A building with a murky past in downtown Ankara is now displaying the Presidency's Communications Directorate's name and seal, daily Cumhuriyet reported. The building used to be owned by businessman Akın İpek who is now a fugitive defendant in the case against U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen.
Lawyers who were waiting outside Ankara's Kuğulu Park to support bar association heads protesting in a sit-in got blocked by police as they marched to parliament. The legal professionals are all in the capital to protest a draft bill on the parliament floor that would dilute bar associations' authorities.
Turkey's Human Rights Association (İHD) has called for the release of Eylem Oyunlu, who is currently behind bars in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on charges of 'assisting a terror organization' with her two young children. Oyunlu's 3-week-old baby is suffering from a blocked tear duct and the two-year-old has chronic bronchitis.
Fossils discovered by a nature enthusiast in mountainous eastern province of Iğdır revealed that the area, now completely landlocked, used to be a shore and underwater. The fossils contained palm leaves, which grow in hot areas by the water.
A non-governmental women's platform urged the government to stop proceedings on a legal amendment that would grant amnesty to sexual predators. The platform also urged the government to not consider recusing from the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty against domestic violence and violence against children.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Turkey has been declining steadily since June 25, but cautioned the public not to flout measures in place to stem the spread of the virus. "Let's not forget that these decreases [in case numbers] are happening slowly, whereas increases are happening suddenly," he said.
Turkey's media watchdog issued 73 percent of broadcast interruption fines to the same four news broadcasters that are critical of the government, a report by non-governmental organization Transparency International revealed.
The European Parliament held a debate entitled “Stability and Security in the Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey” on July 9. Several MEPs called for a complete end to accessions talks with Turkey, saying the country should no longer receive payments from the EU budget as part of pre-accession support.
84 percent of Turkish citizens expect a second wave of the novel coronavirus epidemic, based on the results of a survey conducted from June 29-July 2 among more than 2,000 people in all of the country’s 81 provinces. 90 percent of people surveyed indicated that the virus had negatively impacted Turkey's economy.
A recent simulation by Istanbul Municipality revealed the southern suburbs of the city to be the highest-risk areas in a potential earthquake. While the suburbs are located on both sides of the city, they're all placed alongside the southern Marmara Sea shoreline.
Turkey has voiced discontent with the United States' decision to provide International Military Education and Training (IMET) to Greek Cypriot soldiers in accordance with the 2020 fiscal year appropriations act. "This and similar steps do not contribute to the efforts towards the settlement of the Cyprus issue, but on the contrary, lead to strengthening the intransigent attitude of the Greek Cypriot side," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.