Welcome to our pick of last week’s news from Fethiye and around Turkey.
Holidaymakers flock to Ölüdeniz to escape the “desert heat”
The 4-day Ed al-Adha (Kurban Bayramı) holiday brought with it the hottest days of the year so far.
Domestic and international holidaymakers flocked to Ölüdeniz to escape the Eyyam-ı bahur* heat, which has been felt throughout the country since the first day of the holiday.
Long traffic quests formed on the road to Ölüdeniz, with waits of more than 40 minutes in hot cars to reach Belcekiz Beach and Kumburnu Nature Park.
* The current hot weather has a name in Arabic ” Eyyam-ı bahur ” also referred to as “Desert Heat” or “Heat from Hell”. Make sure you stay in the shade and carry water at all times.
Source: Gerçek Fethiye
Turkey cuts VAT in tourism sector
On Thursday, Turkey announced steep value-added tax (VAT) cuts for services and other tax reductions to help the economy weather the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have cut the VAT in accommodation and catering services and cultural activities such as cinema, theater, and museum entrance fees from 8% to 1%,” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak wrote on Twitter.
The VAT in passenger transportation, wedding organizations, residential maintenance and repair, dry cleaning, and tradesmen services such as tailoring was slashed from 18% to 8%, he noted.
The withholding tax on office rents for tradesmen was halved from 20% to 10%, Albayrak added.
Bülent Uysal, President of the Fethiye Hoteliers Association (FETOB), said “VAT, which is 8 percent in accommodation tax, has been reduced to 1 percent, and this has been an important support for our hoteliers who have occupancy problems. Providing Social Security premium support for those hotels who have reopened and continuing the short working allowance for those that could not open, has also been a gift for tourism professionals. We would like to thank the Minister of Treasury and Finance Berat Albayrak and the Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Ersoy for their support to the tourism professionals.”
In an earlier interview Uysal said, “As of August 1, flights from England to our region have increased. In addition, charter flights to Dalaman from Russia begin on August 10. We hope that our facilities and tourism will have a good season in August.”
Sources: aa.com.tr/Gerçek Fethiye
Turkish Parliament passes law to regulate social media content
The Turkish Parliament passed a law that will give authorities more powers to control social media content early July 29.
What’s in the new law?
The bill imposes comprehensive regulations on social media, requiring foreign social media companies with over 1 million users — such as Twitter and Facebook — to have a representative in the country.
Under the new law, social media providers will be required to store domestic user data in Turkey, imposing fines of up to $1.5 million, as well as bandwidth restrictions and advertising bans, for failure to comply.
The government defends the bill as an effort to protect approximately 55 million users in Turkey from disinformation. “The bill was prepared with an innovative approach to protect users as opposed to curtailing them,” Ismail Cesur, a presidential adviser said in a tweet.“The bill aims to protect the basic rights and freedoms of citizens and to get ahead of the disinformation,” ruling Justice and Development Party deputy chairman Mahir Unal said in an interview with state broadcaster TRT.
When does it take effect?
The law still needs to be approved by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but at this point that is just a formality. He has come out in favor of more regulations on social media platforms already. The bill that passed in parliament gives the tech companies until October to comply with the new law.
What are the tech companies doing?
Social media companies have not reacted to the bill yet but cyber rights experts say platforms should leave the Turkish market instead of complying with the new law. “I tell the tech companies, under these circumstances, do not come. If you do, you will become the long arm of the Turkish judiciary system and you will be compelled to comply with all the requests,” said Akdeniz. The law effectively means platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are going to have to decide whether to pull out of the lucrative Turkish market or stick around while complying with the new measures.
Facebook and Snapchat declined to comment, while Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.
Turkey reopens the Sümela Monastery after four years of restoration
The majestic Sümela Monastery is now accessible to local and foreign visitors after a four-year-long restoration – carried out by the Turkish government – finally comes to a close.
Turkey’s historic Sümela Monastery was officially reopened on Tuesday with the country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan attending the online ceremony.
It is one of Turkey’s crucial faith tourism centres and underwent a restoration process that included landscaping, as well as the geological and geotechnical maintenance of rocks.
Two Greek priests, Barnabas and Sophronios, founded the Sümela Monastery in 386AD during the Roman times.
It was built on the steep cliff in the Macka region of Trabzon, standing 1,200m tall in the country’s Black Sea region.
In the 13th century, Trabzon became the capital of the Komnenos Dynasty, which became a separate state to the Byzantium Empire.
In the second half of the century, the monastery took its current form.
The cliff-face monastery is a site of historical and cultural significance and was included in UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage sites in 2000. Its appeal is not lost on its visitors, given that hundreds of thousands of tourists – both local and foreign – have historically come to marvel at it every year.
Source: TRT World
Fresh lira slide rekindles crisis fears for Turkey
Turkey’s lira is back in the spotlight. After two months of stability, the currency is testing the 7-per-dollar threshold and tumbling to record lows versus the euro, rekindling memories of the August 2018 lira meltdown.
The slide came as state banks sold at least $2.5 billion Monday and Tuesday to prop up the currency as demand for foreign currency widened the nation’s current-account deficit, according to reports by Bloomberg News.
The latest fluctuation comes after a global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic sent shocks through the Turkish economy, devaluating the lira this spring and financial analysts now fear Turkey could experience a new currency crisis if monetary policies remain unchanged.
Amid the tumult, Turkish Central Bank Governor Murat Uysal raised his end-year inflation forecast to 8.9% Wednesday, up from 7.4%, citing rising oil and food prices. Uysal said the projection assumed there would be no second wave of COVID-19, adding he expected inflation to call back to 6.2% by the end of 2021.
Sources: Bloomberg/Daily Sabah
Thank you to Brian Lloyd for the sport updates
No relegation from Turkish Süper Lig this season
Turkey’s top three football leagues, Süper Lig, TFF 1. Lig and the 2. Lig – will have no relegations in 2020, the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) announced on Tuesday.
With the decision, Ankaragücü, Kayserispor and Malatyaspor will avoid relegation to the second-tier TFF 1. Lig.
The federation said next year’s Süper Lig will have 21 teams competing instead of the regular 18 due to the decision, while the number of teams to be relegated in 2021 will be increased to four.
The rule also saved Osmanlıspor, Adanaspor and Eskişehirspor in TFF 1.Lig from being sent further down into third-tier TFF 2. Lig.
Source: Daily Sabah
5th leg of World Rally Championship to be held in Marmaris
The 5th round of FIA World Rally Championship “Rally Turkey”, will be hosted by Turkish Automobile Sports Federation (TOSFED) on September 18/20 in Marmaris.
The championship, which was postponed after stage 3 due to the novel coronavirus, will continue with the Estonian Rally on 4-6 September.
Friday September 18 will see the start of the Rally of Turkey which will be held in special stages in Marmaris, Ula and Datça over the three days. The race will be broadcast live on 155 television channels.
Turkish Lira (TL) exchange rates
The British Pound bought 9.12 TL by the close of business on Friday. The week before it was selling for 8.76 TL.
The US Dollar bought 6.97 TL by the close of business on Friday. The week before it was selling for 6.84 TL.
The Euro bought 8.21 TL by the close of business on Friday. The week before it was selling for 7.98 TL.
Here’s your weather forecast for the week ahead.
Source: Living Earth
Today’s featured image: “Sunset over Karaot Beach” by Lyn Ward