Journalist detained for ‘Diriliş Ertuğrul’ commentary -  Turkey roundup

Turkish journalist detained for social media posts on popular TV series 

Turkish police detained on Monday a journalist over social media posts and articles on popular Ottoman-era drama series "Diriliş Ertuğrul," Duvar news site reported.

Oktay Candemir was detained in his home in the eastern Van province over his columns and social media reports criticising the series, Duvar said.

Candemir’s detention warrant cites violation of Article 130 of the Turkish Penal Code, which calls for a jail sentence of fine for defaming the "memory of a person after his death in the presence of at least three persons.’’

The series featured on Netflix, which has taken the Muslim world by storm, tells the story of the prehistory of the Ottoman Empire, focusing on the life of Ertuğrul, considered the founder of the empire.

Turkish Treasury foots $234.5 million bill for Osmangazi bridge in 2020

The Turkish Treasury has paid a total of 1.75 billion lira ($234.5 million) to a consortium to compensate for a shortage in guaranteed toll income from a bridge linking the cities of Yalova and Gebze in northwest Turkey in the first half of 2020, Yeniçağ newspaper reported on Monday.

The companies operating the Osmangazi bridge - the İÇTAŞ–Astaldi Consortium - have been cushioned by a tender operating system run by the Turkish government that guarantees the tender operators an income in foreign currency equal to the equivalent of tolls for 40,000 vehicles crossing the bridge.

The number of vehicles crossing the Osmangazi bridge has fallen far below the expected mark and the treasury is expected to make another payment for the second half of the year in January of 2021, Yeniçağ said. 

Toll fees at the bridge were increased by 14 percent in January, to between 164.85 - 188.65 lira ($22-25) the most expensive in the country.

Turkish singer says country leads the world in pandemic management

Turkish singer Aşkın Nur Yengi has praised the Turkish government for its management of the coronavirus pandemic, saying Turkey is the top country in dealing with the outbreak.

Because I frequently travel abroad, I am familiar with the health systems there, too,’’ Yengi told Sabah newspaper on Monday.  "Turkey is number one in the world.’’ 

"Turkey is being led well, but our people are careless, we do not adequately follow the regulations,’’ the singer added. 

Yengi’s comments arrive as Turkey registers a soaring number of infections and deaths in recent weeks, with critics accusing the government of failing to disclose real infection numbers. 

A survey shared by leading polling company Metropoll on Monday revealed that a majority of Turkish citizens do not believe the Health Ministry’s pandemic data.

Turkey may reintroduce pandemic measures in high-risk provinces, Erdoğan says

Turkey is monitoring and implementing new measures to stem the spread of COVID-19, including a new regulation that will ban passengers from standing on public transportation vehicles across the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday.

The country may also reintroduce pandemic restrictions in provinces with a high number of infections, Diken news site quoted Erdoğan as saying following a Cabinet meeting in Ankara.

Turkey on Monday announced 1,703 new cases and 57 deaths linked to the deadly virus, maintaining a weeks-long upward trajectory in the outbreak. The total number of those infected with the virus in the country has reached 281,509.