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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 11 February 2017

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 11 February 2017]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ According to the Washington Post, a Russian airstrike in northern Syria killed three Turkish soldiers and wounded 11 more, senior Russian officials confirmed Thursday evening, in a friendly fire incident that could test the shaky coordination between the two countries in the fight against the Islamic State.

  The Turkish forces along with rebel Syrian allies are trying to retake the town of al-Bab from the Islamic State.

  The Russians strike came after last month's agreement between the two countries that they would coordinate strikes against the Islamic State.

  In related news, the Russian news agency Sputnik wrote that the Turkish general staff claimed that Russian military had been warned in advance of the presence of Turkish servicemen in the area targeted by the Russian jets.

  Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Friday that wrong coordinates of Turkish army's locations provided to Russia resulted in the deadly Russian airstrike. According to the Hürriyet Daily News, the Turkish military strongly denied the Russian claim.

★ Also in the Washington Post was an opinion column by Asli Aydıntaşbaş , who is a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and a columnist for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.

  Ms. Aydıntaşbaş says that German chancellor Angela Merkel has become a Turkish dissident.

  "Angela Merkel have recently assumed with Turkey as careful critics of Ankara's despotism and the unraveling of its democracy" Ms. Aydıntaşbaş writes.

  "Since the attempted coup and the subsequent crackdown last summer in Turkey, Germany has been the recipient of hundreds of Turkish (and Kurdish) asylum seekers; has started a semiofficial program to provide haven for academics, journalists and artists fleeing Turkey; and has not been hiding its criticism of the sad state of affairs in Turkey under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan ÔÇ" albeit in German and in a carefully calibrated series of understatements," Ms. Aydıntaşbaş adds.

  "It isn't much. But it is more than what others do. The new U.S. president has already said he will ignore concerns about civil rights in Turkey, and visiting Ankara last month, British Prime Minister Theresa May was too concerned about signing a multimillion-dollar defense deal to utter a word on democracy," Ms. Aydıntaşbaş writes.

  A German diplomat friend of Ms. Aydıntaşbaş told her that in the early days of the Turkish Republic in 1930s, Turkey opened its doors to German academics and intellectuals fleeing the Nazi regime. " it is now our time to pay back", the German diplomat said.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Liz Essley Whyte, from The Center for Public Integrity wrote in the USA Today that more than 150 state legislators from places like Idaho and Texas accepted subsidized junkets from a Turkish opposition group that the country's government now blames for the July 2016 attempted coup.

  State legislators who rarely get involved in foreign policy matters were courted with international trips. The trips in some cases cost more than $7000. Some state lawmakers who took them later introduced resolutions supporting controversial Hizmet movement.

  Some even have supported charter schools that are part of a network from the nation's capital to California of roughly 160 taxpayer-financed schools that friends of the movement run.

  The group is made up of people who are the followers of Pennsylvania based preacher Fethullah Gülen.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ According to the Associated Press, Turkish police have used tear gas to disperse protesters trying to enter Ankara University to denounce a government decree that dismissed 330 academics. At least five protesters were detained.

  The academics were among some 4,500 civil servants that were sacked Tuesday under the state of emergency declared following a failed coup attempt in July. Although introduced to deal with the alleged perpetrators of the coup, critics say the government is using emergency powers to pursue all opponents.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ According to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, Officials say Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has met CIA chief Mike Pompeo in that Turkish capital Ankara and that the two agreed on closer cooperation against terrorism and organized crime.

  During their discussions on February 10, Mr. Yildirim renewed a request for U.S. support for Turkey's actions against the movement led by cleric Fethullah Gülen, including his extradition, the prime minister's office said.

  Pompeo arrived in Turkey on February 9, making his first overseas trip since taking office. He discussed with Turkey's president and his Turkish counterpart the fight against the Islamic State.

  Read more at >> here <<

In related news, Vice President Mike Pence told Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim it was a "new day" in Turkish-U.S. relations in a phone call on Thursday to discuss cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Yıldırım's office said in a statement, reports Reuters.

★ Speaking of cleric Gülen, Melih Gökçek, the mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara, suggested on Tuesday that of the cleric might now be plotting an earthquake with the help of foreign powers to damage the Turkish economy, Reuters reports.

  According to CNN Türk, mayor Melih Gökçek made his remarks after Turkey's northwestern area small earthquakes. He pointed out that there was a seismic vehicle around the area and asked an investigation to be started.

  Last year in August he also claimed that the followers of Gülen were planning to an earthquake in Turkey and that he prevented it.

★ According to Turkey's Anatolia News Agency, more than 3,500 people were arrested in operations conducted by police, gendarmerie and coast guards across Turkey, security sources said on February 11.

  Security forces confiscated 81 vehicles, 91 guns, 91 hunting rifles, 80,268 packs of smuggled cigarettes, 686 smuggled cellphones, 762 liters of unlicensed alcohol as well as 103 historical artifacts.

  Around 81,000 officers participated in the operations, the statement added.

  In midweek, there was also the news that Turkey arrested more than 800 people across the country in anti terrorism operations targeting Islamic State. It is not clear if these two operations are one and the same.

★ Writing in the Hürriyet Daily News, Selin Nasi says that Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı's recent visit to Tel Aviv set another milestone in the reconciliation process between Turkey and Israel, as it marked the first ministerial visit from the former to the latter since 2010.

  Mr. Avcı attended the International Tourism Exhibition in Tel Aviv, where he met his Israeli counterpart, Yariv Levin, to discuss ways to boost tourism and projects aimed at improving cultural ties.

  Turkey has always been one of the top vacation destinations for Israelis due to its proximity as well as the cultural affinity between the two peoples. However, in the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, the deterioration of relations dealt a severe blow to tourism.

★ President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on February 11 discussed the fight against terrorism and the situation in Syria, according to a statement issued by the presidential spokesman, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Guterres emphasized that Turkey was "a key country" for a solution to the Syrian crisis, presidential spokesman added.

★ In the other brief news:

  - Venice Commission, which is the constitutional consultative body of the Council of Europe, is visiting Turkey to investigate the current embattled state of media freedom under the ongoing state of emergency.

  - Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in comments appeared in four Spanish dailies Saturday has said that here are no journalists currently under custody in Turkey just for doing their jobs and writing news. He said that the journalists in jail are there because they supported terrorism or terrorist organizations.

  - Turkish authorities will implement necessary measures to prevent child marriages via abduction after reports emerged that underage girls were being kidnapped and forced into marriage in exchange for payments to their families in two İzmir villages, Turkish Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya has said.

  - Turkey will hold constitutional referendum on April 16, according to the Turkey's Supreme Election Board.

  - Turkey's prime minister accused the main opposition Republican People's Party's leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu -- who will vote No in the April 16 referendum ÔÇ" of using terrorist organizations' rhetoric when talking about the constitutional referendum. Among the terrorist organizations the prime minister cited are cleric Gülen followers and Kurdish rebels.

  - Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on the other hand said "This change [amendments to the constitution] will bring a catastrophe to Turkey. If you vote 'no,' the country will take a deep breath,"

  - According to the Voice of America, President Trump talked with his Turkish counterpart Erdoğan for 45 minutes on Tuesday. White House described the conversation productive. President Erdoğan did not bring up the U.S. travel ban perhaps in hope of concessions.

  Read more at >> here <<

  - Nearly half of Turkish residents have a negative view of the United States, according to a Gallup Poll commissioned by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, parent organization of VOA. Turks also gave the United States considerably higher marks for schools and business opportunities than interracial harmony, protection of human rights or efforts to fight international crime.

  - Turkey's flag carrier Turkish Airlines aired a new advertisement featuring Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman at half-time of the 51st Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons in Houston, Texas on Feb. 5, watched by around 188 million people.

★ According to Can Sezer of Reuters Turkey has set up a new sovereign wealth fund which is more like a national development bank. The fund is an effort to create the funding vehicle for leveraging up assets, S&P analyst Frank Gill said on Friday.

  The Turkish government transferred government stakes worth billions of dollars in Turkish Airlines, major banks and fixed-line operator Turk Telekom to the fund set up last year to help finance big-ticket infrastructure projects.

  Frank Gill notes that private spending in Turkey is declining and it makes sense to try to increase public investment in infrastructure, as long as the spending is transparent.

★ Reuters reports that a Turkish hacker was sentenced to eight years in a U.S. prison on Tuesday.

  The hacker carried out cyber attacks and stole $55 million from automated teller machines globally.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Intrepid Aviation announced on February 9 the delivery of a Rolls-Royce powered A330-300 on long-term lease to Turkish Airlines, reports the BusinessWire.

  This is the second of seven A330 aircraft due to be delivered to the Istanbul based flag carrier.


★ The fourth Cemal Reşit Rey (CRR) Jazz in February will be held this year between February 13 and 21, featuring seven concerts by masters of jazz from various countries at Istanbul's CRR Concert Hall, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The event will open with a concert by two important names in Northern European jazz, Terje Rypdal and Ketil Bjornstad.

  Guitarist and composer Rypdal, who blends jazz and rock, as well as an acclaimed name in the modern jazz world, pianist and composer Bjornstad, will share the same stage during the opening night.

  Before the two Norwegian musicians, British band Fred Frith will take the stage alongside bass guitarist Jason Hoopes and percussionist Jordan Glenn.

  The conductor of the CRR Jazz Orchestra, Nail Yavuzoğlu, will be on stage on February 14 and 19 at the CRR foyer to present his own works with his bass guitar.

  February 14 Valentine's Day will also feature Italian artist Roberta Gambarini, one of the best-known names of international jazz festivals and notable concert halls, on the CRR stage.

  Gambarini has been appreciated for his duet album "Your Are There," recorded with the legendary pianist and composer of jazz music, Hank Jones.

  The CRR jazz Orchestra will be on the stage on February 17 under the baton of Yavuzoğlu.

  The soloist of the program will be Meltem Ege, who is a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music and representing Turkey in the field of jazz music.

  A world-renowned trumpet player, 77-year-old Enrico Rava, who has carried Italian jazz to the international stage, and Trio Elf, which received the Bremen Jazz Award in 2016, will meet on the CRR stage on February 18.

  The Enrico Rava New Quartet includes Rava, Francesco Diodati, Gabriele Evangelista and Enrico Morello.

  The German jazz band also features internationally acclaimed musicians Gerwin Eisenhauer, Walter Lang and Gerwin Eisenhauer.

  Saxophonist David Sanborn, who has released 24 albums in his 35-year music career and has been one of the leading names of contemporary music since the 1970s with six Grammys, will take the stage on February 19.

  The Hijazz Project, which was formed to blend traditional forms of Turkish music with Western rhythms while bringing together Turkey's best musicians, will perform on February 20.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Sergey Kravchenko, a world renowned Russian violinist, will start giving classes to young talents in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya as part of a project, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Kravchenko, 71, said he admired Antalya after giving two concerts in 2006, which prompted him to buy a holiday house in 2010 there.

  His first trip to Antalya was in 1994 and later came again to perform at the Aspendos Ancient Theater in 2006.

  He said that he took stage in various parts of the world, but none of them had inspired him as much as the concert he gave in Aspendos. "There is no such acoustic in any other part of the world. I fell in love with Antalya and Aspendos. Its historic and natural beauties inspired me the most. There is such a beautiful mosaic here. People from all over the world are living here without any problems. The Mediterranean attracts me so much," he said.

  For Kravchenko, Antalya carries special significance, he said the sea and the mountains of the province reminded him of the Ukrainian city of Odessa, where he was born and raised.''

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Istanbul State Opera and Ballet is bringing one of the world's most famous ballets, "Sleeping Beauty," to the stage at the Kadıköy Süreyya Opera for the first time in 20 years, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Written by Pyotr Ilyich Chaikovsky and choreographed by Victor Marius Alphonse Petipa, the unique work unites different concepts, characters and challenges in music and ballet.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Award-winning caricatures from the 33rd Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Contest are now on display at the Gallery Işık Teşvikiye, reports the Doğan News Agency.

  At a ceremony held for the opening of the exhibition on February 9, Aydın Doğan Executive Committee President Candan Fetvacı noted that the contest had a 30-year history.

  "It is very important to believe in something to make it continuous. We are a platform for all cartoonists in the world to express themselves. The whole world has respect for this contest. We are in contact with 7,500 drawers, who send us their work. For example, this year's winner Marco De Angelis also won the contest in the 1980s. When he came here he told me that he had been sending his cartoons for 27 years and finally he won," Ms. Fetvacı said.

  "I think this is very good for the representation of our country in the world. It encourages creativity as well as thinking and it gives some very important messages. Sometimes we don't need words; sometimes we can understand something just by looking at a cartoon. We remember these drawings for many years," she added.

  Ms. Fetvacı said Turkish cartoonists were the "backbone" of the contest and also stressed the importance of young cartoonists taking part.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ ALAN Istanbul is set to stage its first exhibition in New York with "The Dialogues I: A Collection of Turkish Contemporary Art" for one week next month, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The exhibition will represent a selection of Turkish Contemporary Art at Mana Contemporary in parallel to an event at the Armory Show. It will take place between March 2 and 9. The show will be the first leg of a dialogue between Istanbul and New York connected through contemporary art.

  The show brings the works of Turkish contemporary artists together. It aims to reflect reproductions of cultural fragments under the styles of new figurative art and new pop-art with different type of mediums such as new media, painting, photography, prints and sculpture.

  The exhibition is set to be on the same dates of The Armory Show that will be held just across the Hudson River in New York on March 2 and 5. As such, the exhibition has been created as a parallel art event to the Armory Show, aiming to connect art lovers from all over the world and inculcate a better understanding about Turkish Contemporary Art.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Istanbul Modern's "Museums Talk" program, organized in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Istanbul aiming to establish a conversation platform between leading international museum professionals and audiences in Turkey, will continue on February 15 with Okwui Enwezor, the director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

★ Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Istanbul's Gallery İlayda will be hosting Barış Cihanoğlu's solo painting exhibition "Common Field", reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Cihanoğlu is known among younger generations of contemporary artists for his unique figurative works as well as his extraordinary paintings on canvas and burnt wooden surfaces with special techniques.

  While deformations that symbolize the flow of mind that we have witnessed in the artist's style and which we often see in recent portraits continue, we see more the influence of the "common field" approach, which has recently expressed by modern science in his new works.

  The exhibition, which began on Jan. 20, can be seen at Gallery İlayda through February 26.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Leman Darıcıoğlu's performance "Empoisoned Princess" will be presented in Istanbul's central Tarlabaşı neighborhood and ALAN İstanbul until February 15, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Ms. Tarlabaşı is a low-income Roma and Kurdish neighborhood that also serves as a sanctuary for Turkey's marginalized population. Located in the heart of the city, near İstiklal Avenue in Taksim, Tarlabaşı has been the site of putative urban renewal after many families were forced from their homes as historical buildings were demolished.

  The performance consists of two parts. In the live performance section, the artist wanders Tarlabaşı's streets to collect the remaining traces of a princess, while keeping a diary of the quest through film and photographs.

  The second part takes place in the gallery space of ALAN İstanbul where the artist presents an active placement of the collected objects and data, which keep evolving and growing every day, giving life to the princess.

  Ms. Darıcıoğlu aims to investigate the questions such as "If Tarlabaşı were a princess, where did she live? Where did she used to hang around in the neighborhood? Who was her mother, her father, her friends and her lover? Why was she poisoned and how is her treatment proceeding?" through the "present state" of the streets, the memory of the district, the city itself and its transformation.

  At the same time, Ms. Darıcıoğlu aims to highlight the impact of gentrification on the area by showing what has been effaced and what currently stands as reality.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Hellenistic-era jewelry has been seized following an operation on the house of a person who was allegedly conducting illegal excavations in the western province of Muğla's Yatağan district. The jewelry is reportedly worth between $125 to 250 thousand.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Roman-era cooks used double baskets and pressure steam cookers to prepare their food, according to findings from the ancient city of Tlos in southwestern Turkey, an academic leading the excavations has said.

  "Starting from the Roman era, we saw that double basket and pressure steam cookers were used to cook dishes. These cookers, called kerotakis, were first used in the first and second centuries, "Akdeniz University Archaeology Department academic and Tlos excavation head Professor Taner Korkut said, adding that their work had revealed ceramic saucepans, pans, plates, glasses, pitchers and serving dishes.

  Dr. Korkut said guests were served dishes on different plates during the Hellenistic age and that the plates were more luxurious than those used in daily life.

  The professor, who specializes in research on eating habits since ancient times, said the gastronomical culture of Anatolia dates back 12,000 years ago.

  He said they initiated the Tlos excavations 10 years ago and learned that cereal-like barley and wheat were used 10,500 years ago in Anatolia, as were a variety of plant species that are also currently in use.

  Dr. Korkut said they had observed that many people, particularly residents of mountainous places in the western province of Muğla's Seydikemer district, still maintained the traditions in their eating habits.

  Read more at >> here <<


EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 3.70


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey:        37/21 Mostly cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean:    64/48 Mostly cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 41/36 Mostly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean:             50/37 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea:        41/36 Mostly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey:       25/3 Mostly Sunny
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 35 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 51 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 75 inches
Palandoken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 63 inches
SaklIkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey   : 24 inches
Uludag in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 69 inches


★ Turkish soccer premiere league:

* In games played so far this weekend:
Karab├╝k Sp      -      Be┼čikta┼č        2 - 1
Alanya Sp       -      G. Birli─či      3 - 0
Osmanli Sp      -      Samsun Sp       0 - 1
Bursa Sp        -      Fenerbah├že      1 - 1


[Saat 18:30 and 19:30 'da iki kez okuyun]


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