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Turkey in a Week, February 11th, 2019

On Monday, an eight story building in Kartal, İstanbul collapsed onto itself, killing 21 of the residing 35 people. Only 14 were rescued as wounded. The scene of the incident reminded the public the notorious 1999 earthquake that hit Marmara region with devastating effects unprecedented death toll. The collapse taking place only months before the coming local elections stirred debates on the government’s  town planning and development policies, especially the so called “zoning reconciliation” that aims at granting pardon and legitimacy to an huge amount of unlicensed and illegal constructions and buildings. The collapsed building is reported to be actually a five story building which had three additional unlicensed stories added and in scope of the “zoning reconciliation” program.

The Diyarbakır Bar Organization handed the report on the killing of the Bar president Tahir Elçi, which the bar had the University of London, Department of Forensic Architecture prepare. The report is claimed to point out to three possible policemen who have used guns at the time of the incident. Tahir Elçi had been shot dead in 2015 while making a statement calling for an end to violence between the army and the Kurdish rebels. Some scenes of the incident had been recorded with the camera during a gun fight.

The ministry of Health has opened a case against food engineer Bülent Şık for “providing and disclosing prohibited secret information.” The concerned information is the results of an academic research financed by the Ministry. The research was on the determination of whether certain chemicals causes high cancer rates in Ergene region. Şık had also been dismissed from Akdeniz University by a statutory decree during the emergency rule.

French president Emmanuel Macron declared 24th of April as commemoration day of Armenian genocide. The declaration was a campaign promise from 2017. Turkey condemned the decision and announced the declaration void and meaningless.

The president of the Bar Association of Turkey, Metin Feyzoğlu made an official visit to the ruling JDP’s Rize provincial chairmanship. The visit stirred great controversy among the bar organizations all around the country. Many organizations officially demanded the resignation of Feyzioğlu. The government on the other hand stood behind Feyzioğlu’s decision and visit.

Atilla Taş, a singer and media personality was released from prison. He had been executed for playing role in the media organization of FETÖ terror organization.

The state Statistical Institute (TÜİK) announced the inflation rate for January. The report shows that the prices has increased by 1,06 from end of December to the end of January and that amounted to 20,35 per cent annual inflation rate. The highest rise was recorded as 30,97 per cent for the food and non-alcoholic beverages.

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