Battered Turkish Economy Puts a Powerful Erdogan to the Test

ISTANBUL — Hobbled by restrictions on his tobacco shop, Ozgur Akbas helped organize a demonstration in Istanbul last month to protest what he called unfair rules imposed on merchants during the pandemic.

“There are many friends who have shut down,” he said in an interview. “And some are on the verge of suicide.”

Turks had been grappling with a falling currency and double-digit inflation for two years when the pandemic hit in March, sharply worsening the country’s deep recession. Nine months in, as a second wave of the virus sweeps through Turkey, there are signs that a significant portion of

Images of Light: Christmas Services Penetrate Darkness Around the World

Christmas falls on one of the darkest days of the year, coming soon after winter solstice. This year, it also came during a dark time for humanity amid a worldwide viral pandemic.

“Here we are, celebrating Christmas, yet deprived of the greetings, hugs, kisses and handshakes that normally fill this day,” Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, said during a midnight Mass in a nearly empty Westminster Cathedral in London. “In the darkness of this pandemic, so many of our comfortable assumptions are being shaken.”

Yet the ceremonies went on, often broadcast on television or, as with the Westminster