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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 22 April 2017

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 22 April 2017]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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Edited by Fuad Tokad

★ Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party has appealed to the Council of State to repeal the Supreme Election Board's decision that changed the legal criteria of the validity of unsealed ballots on referendum day, reports the Hürriyet Daily news. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, however, has called their efforts "futile," calling on the Republican People's Party to "respect the result" of the April 16 referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.

  The Republican People's Party says the decision of the Supreme Election Board breached Turkey's electoral law, adding that there were irregularities during the vote-counting process that cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the votes.

  Amid the electoral board's rejection to three opposition parties' application to cancel the referendum on April 19, the Republican People's Party remains adamant to seek further legal avenues to support their ground.

  The Republican People's Party currently evaluating four separate options to decide on whether to appeal to the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

★ The former leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party, Deniz Baykal, has suggested that the party will continue to fight against the constitutional amendment passed in the April 16 referendum shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system, saying the vote created a "constitutional crisis."

  "We have a score to settle in 2019. The game will be over in 2019," Baykal said on April 21.

  His comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded to the Republican People's Party's opposition to the referendum results with a sporting analogy, saying a "win is a win."

  "It doesn't matter if you win 1-0 or 5-0. The ultimate goal is to win the game," Erdoğan said in televised interview on CNN International on April 19.

  In response, Mr. Baykal developed the football analogy in reference to questions over irregularities in the vote, saying there are debates over the "legitimacy of the goal."

  "This picture is not one where the game is over. There is a claim that the goal came from offside, but the match has not finished yet. There is a second half," he said.

  Reiterating the Republican People's Party's objections to the constitution, Baykal said the narrow margin of votes indicates a problem of legitimacy.

  "The result is 50-50 and we are going to make a constitution based on that? 50 plus 1 percent decides power, but it cannot decide a constitution. A constitution cannot be made with 51 percent of the vote. This can only lead to a constitutional crisis," he said.

  "This constitutional amendment was not prepared at parliament. It was not duly negotiated at parliament. The ones who signed it effectively signed a blank document. The process at the commission and the general assembly in parliament were all a fait accompli. It was not a process in which Turkey could observe or participate as a country. What's more, platforms beyond parliament were also not included; in fact they were excluded," Mr. Baykal added.

★ Turkey's Supreme Election Board, the top office for the final decision on any poll disputes, rejected on April 19 all opposition objections to the results of the April 16 constitutional referendum, reported HDN.

  Both the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party, the third largest party in parliament, had submitted legal objections to the board, mainly due to its decision to not deem ballot papers without official seals invalid.

  The Supreme Election Board stated on April 19 that it inspected appeals from the two parties in parliament, as well as the Vatan Party, and rejected them all, with only one affirmative vote from its 11 members.

  "There is a crisis of legitimacy of [the referendum]," said Republican People's Party Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan after the decision in a televised interview.

  The Republican People's Party will decide on its next steps against the decision, Tezcan said, adding that the issue "is the problem of the whole country."

★ Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks over reinstating capital punishment following the approval of constitutional amendments in the April 16 referendum has triggered a fresh debate, collecting warnings from European allies, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Mr. Erdoğan said during his arrival at the Turkish capital Ankara from Istanbul on April 17 that he would approve the return of the death penalty if the parliament passes such a law to pay respect "to our martyrs."

  On April 17, France said the organization of a referendum on the death penalty would "obviously be a break with values and engagements" that was accepted by Turkey when it first joined Europe's top rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, the presidency said.

★ Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he will meet President Donald Trump on May 16-17 in what will be the leaders' first face-to-face meeting since the latter took office in January, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Earlier, Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the two leaders had agreed to come together before a NATO summit that will take place in late May in Brussels.

  On April 17, President Trump congratulated Mr. Erdoğan in a phone call after he won a narrow referendum on constitutional amendments that replaced a parliamentary system with an executive presidency.

★ President Donald Trump will do what former President Barack Obama failed to do regarding the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, accused of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said April 20.

  Mr. Erdoğan said he expected the U.S. to make the necessary administrative decision to prevent cleric Gülen from operating a "terrorist organization" in Pennsylvania.

  Turkey says the Fethullahist Terror Organization, headed by Gülen, orchestrated the July 15, 2016, attempted takeover, which left 249 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.

  According to the Turkish government, Gülenists are behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

  Mr. Gülen has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.

★ Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı , the chair of the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, received the Physicians for Human Rights' Human Rights Award on April 18 at a ceremony in New York, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The Physicians for Human Rights released a statement regarding Fincanci, hailing her as an anti-torture expert who has dedicated her career to defending human rights.

  "Şebnem Korur Fincancı remarked that 'we lean on each other, and people need each other" in the name of avoiding losing hope but in retaining strong solidarity. As the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, we thank all our friends who are in solidarity with us, especially the Physicians for Human Rights with this award," it stated.

  Ms. Fincancı , who is the head of the Forensic Science Department of Istanbul University's Istanbul Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty, participated in autopsy works on bodies exhumed from mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996 as part of a study for the United Nations International War Crimes Tribunal.

★ Turkey will mark National Sovereignty and Children's Day on April 23, the anniversary of the Turkish Parliament's foundation, with official ceremonies to be held in the capital Ankara, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The country celebrates the establishment of the Turkish Parliament with National Sovereignty and Children's Day on April 23 every year, as it was bestowed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of Turkish Republic at the opening ceremony of parliament.

  Although Sovereignty Day is being marked for the 97th time this year, it was 1979 when the day started to be called "International Children's Year" and the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Institution (TRT) started a festival called "TRT International April 23 Children's Festival." In its first year, Turkey hosted children from USSR, Iraq, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria, and went on to host thousands of children from 150 different countries over 39 years.

  Ceremonies will be held in the current parliament, the first parliament building, and Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Atatürk.

★ The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on April 21 that security forces conducted broad and middle scale operations targeting Kurdistan Workers Party militants in the Şırnak-Beytüşşebap, Hakkari-Yüksekova, Diyarbakir-Lice, Batman-Sason, Mardin-Dargeçit and Bitlis-Merkez regions between April 14 and 20 to halt their preparations for the spring-summer season, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Five soldiers were killed and some 45 outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party militants were "neutralized" during operations.

  Separately, two soldiers were killed and another two were wounded on April 21 during clashes with militants in the Andaç region of Şırnak, Doğan News Agency reported.

★ An investigation has been launched into the helicopter crash in Turkey's eastern province of Tunceli that claimed the lives of a judge, seven police officers, a noncommissioned officer and three personnel.

  The investigation into the crash of Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk type helicopter was launched by the Tunceli Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on April 19.

  The helicopter crashed on April 18 after contact with it was lost on 11:43 a.m. It had taken off from the Pülümür district and was en route to the Ovacik district.

  Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said after the crash that there was no "external factor" behind the incident.

  Meanwhile, it has been determined that one of the police officers killed in the accident went live on social media right after he got onto the helicopter from Pülümür.

  Police officer Mesut Özdemir, 31, from the southeastern province of Gaziantep, went live around 11:25 a.m. and the footage showed the mountains, while his relatives posted comments with prayers.

  It was also revealed that officer Özdemir survived an attack on police headquarters in Tunceli two months ago, the Doğan News Agency reported.


★ Istanbul Modern Cinema is presenting My First Feature, a program focusing on the debut features filmed by current directors at the start of their careers, between April 20 and 23, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The selection features four films by the unusual director of French films Claire Simon, who has been working across different genres ranging from documentary to fiction for 20 years and has always tried to capture the essence of reality. On April 20, Simon was present after the screening of one of his movies.

  Another film to be screened is "Private Madness" by Belgian director Joachim Lafosse, which was nominated for the Golden Leopard at the Locarno film festival in 2004. A conversation with Simon is also included in the program.

  On April 23, the producer of "Private Madness," Eric Van Zuylen, will be present after the screening of the film for a conversation on Joachim Lafosse's films .

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Istanbul film Festival awards are being disclosed.

  Fikret Reyhan's "Yellow Heat" was the big winner at the awards for the 36th Istanbul Film Festival, picking up four Golden Tulips, including one for best film.

  "Yellow Heat" was closely followed by Yeşim Ustaoğlu's "Clair Obscur," which one three awards, including one for best director to the veteran filmmaker Ustaoğlu.

  The Awards Were presented on April 14 at Istanbul's Soho House in the International and National Golden Tulip Competitions, FACE Human Rights in Cinema, National Documentary and National Short Film Competitions, as well as the Seyfi Teoman Best Debut Film Prize and FIPRESCI International, National and National Short Film Awards.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Turkish pop music singer Ayşe Hatun Önal has a new album out. The album is titled "Hi, Unbalanced".

  Cenk Erdem of the Hürriyet Daily News had a lengthy interview with the artist.

  In the interview Ms. Önal said that it took a long time to prepare the album to catch the right feeling of each song.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ His is one of the first names that comes to mind when one mentions classical guitar in Turkey. Now, Ahmet Kanneci is being recognized for 40 years of service to the arts in Turkey, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Mr. Kanneci was honored for his four decades in music with an event on April 20 at the Hacettepe University as part of the ongoing 34h International Ankara Music Festival.

  Mr. Kanneci also appeared on stage for guitar lovers.

  Born in 1957, Mr. Kanneci started his music education with a leading Turkish composer, Turgay Erdener. He also learned harmony and counterpoint from İstemihan Taviloğlu and Ali Sevgi. After meeting Julian Byzantine in 1977, he turned his attention to classical guitar.

  Four years later, he graduated from the Department of Architecture and was awarded a scholarship from the Spanish government to study with Jose Tomas at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica Oscar Espla de Alicante. He also had the privilege of playing for Alirio Diaz and receiving his critical acclaim.

  When he returned to Turkey, Mr. Kanneci was the first to found classical guitar departments at four different conservatories. In 1993, he was awarded with a Fulbright scholarship for lifetime achievement in art.

  Mr. Kanneci is currently the chairman of the Department of Guitar at Hacettepe University State Conservatory and provides guitar courses at Sevda - Cenap And Music Foundation in Ankara.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Speaking of guitar, the award-winning star of flamenco, Spanish star Raphael Amargo, will be on the stage at the 34th international on current music Festival on April 22 with his show "Intimo", reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The flamenco star, who has enjoyed success both in his native country Spain and the world with his shows "Poet in New York," "Amargo," "El Amor Brujo" and "Enramblao," says it is "extraordinary" to bring together the different worlds of women and men in harmony of dance.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Currently in its 45th year, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts is taking a step forward to realize a dream project: Starting in 2017, the Istanbul Theater Festival returns to an annual cycle after 15 years of being held biennially, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The 21st Istanbul Theater Festival will be held between Nov. 13 and 26.

  The 21st Istanbul Theater Festival program will include four international performances from abroad and 10 local companies from Turkey. In addition to these performances taking place in diverse venues, panels and workshops will also be held free of charge with the participation of instructors and experts in their field.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Mamut Art Project, a unique art event dedicated to engage emerging artists with new collectors, galleries and curators, is set to return this spring, providing an important platform for 50 up-and-coming creative talents working in a range of disciplines throughout Turkey, reports the Hürriyet Daily News. Directed by Seren Kohen, the fifth edition of the Mamut Art Project will be held between April 26 and 30 at Istanbul's KüçükÇiftlik Park.

  Some 50 artists have been selected from over 1,000 applications by a jury of five multi-disciplinary experts comprising, among others, acclaimed conceptual artist Sarkis.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ John Freely, the well-known author of many history and travel books on Istanbul, Turkey and Greece, passed away on April 20 at age of 90, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Dr. Freely wrote more than 40 books over the course of his long life, including his masterpiece "Strolling Through Istanbul: A Guide to the City," which is seen as the perhaps the best guide to Istanbul ever written.

  Along with many travel books focusing on Turkey and its region, Dr. Freely also wrote on history, including "Storm on Horseback: The Seljuk Warriors of Turkey" and "The Grand Turk: Sultan Mehmet II: Conqueror of Constantinople and Master of an Empire."

  Dubbed "the memory of Istanbul" for his various books on the city's history, Freely lived and taught for many years at the prestigious Boğaziçi University, having started when it was still known as Robert College.

  Although trained as a physicist and in fact taught physics both in Turkey and elsewhere, Dr. Freely had a keen interest in history and culture.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Özgen Acar of the Hürriyet Daily News reports that an ancient Anatolian statuette of abundance is seeking record sums at a New York auction.

  The "Kilia Idol," a 23-centimeter statuette that has been smuggled from Turkey, will be auctioned on April 28 at New York Christie's at an estimated price of $3 million.

  Another 20-centimeter Kilia Idol thought to date back around 6,000 years, which is called "stargazer" in the West and "tepegöz" in Turkish because its eyes are tilted toward the sky, was auctioned for $1.8 million in 2005 in New York.

  An American archaeologist found one of these idols, which are little known in Turkey, in the ancient city of Kilia in what is now modern Turkey's Çanakkale's Gallipoli district at the end of the 19th century and took it to the American Archaeology Institute in Athens. These statuettes are called Kilia Idols in reference to the place where they were first found.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Visitors to the ancient site of Harran in Turkey's Southeast Anatolia region now have the chance to participate in excavations on one of the oldest sites in human history, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The excavation management allocated about an area of 1000 square feet to the visitors. The excavations are taken place in the Ulu Mosque area.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Tomorrow is the National Sovereignty and Children's Day in Turkey. The official holiday marks the day the first Turkish parliament convened in Ankara in 1920 at the beginning of the independence war.

  After the establishment of the Turkish Republic and the defeat of the invaders, Turkish parliament proclaimed the day is a holiday and dedicated to the children of Turkey.

  In addition to being celebrated with parades throughout Turkey, the Hürriyet Daily News reports that the Mövenpick Hotel is organizing a chocolate making course for children.

  Here in the US, the Turkish community in Washington DC area will have a "Peace and Solidarity Walk" from the White House Ellipse to West Potomac. In the West Potomac area there will be a Festival with food and entertainment including renowned Turkish singers and folk dancers.

  Here in the Bay Area, the Turkish community school in the South Bay will commemorate the day at the school session on April 23. The Berkeley community school will have an International Children's Day Festival.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Turkish Cultural Foundation has awarded a publication grant for the book "More Than Oriental Splendor: Exchanges in Dress, Design and Culture in the Mediterranean World During the Ottoman Era" by Dr. Charlotte Jirousek.

  The book, which is the result of 15 years of international research by Dr. Jirousek, examines the history of dress and fashion in the broader context of western relationships with the Ottoman Empire and the Mediterranean world through the modern era.

  Dr. Jirousek was a scholar of costume history and professor and curator in the Textiles and Apparel Department at Cornell University, and she devoted her career to studying vanishing textile techniques firsthand in Turkey and to the study of Turkish influence on Western dress.

  The book will be published by the University of Indiana Press in the fall of 2017.

  The Turkish Cultural Foundation is a US tax-exempt public charitable organization supported entirely by private donations, with offices in Boston, Istanbul and Washington DC. One of its goals is to promote and preserve Turkish culture and heritage worldwide, through original programs and cooperation with like-minded organizations.


EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 3.64


Low and High Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey:        43/36 Showers
Antalya, on the Mediterranean:    68/59 Showers
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 59/43 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean:             61/45 Showers
Trabzon, on the Black Sea:        57/45 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey:       63/43 Showers
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 4 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 10 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 10 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 12 inches



-- Premiere League:

★ In games played so far this weekend:
Konya Sp        -      G. Antep Sp     1 - 2
Karabük Sp      -      Kasımpaşa       0 - 0
Rize Sp         -      Başakşehir      3 - 3
Alanya Sp       -      Osmanli Sp      0 - 1
G. Birliği      -      Kayseri Sp      2 - 1
Antalya Sp      -      Samsun Sp       0 - 3

★ Standing in the league as of week ending 27
  1 - Beşiktaş        61
  2 - Başakşehir      56
  3 - Fenerbahçe      50
  4 - G. Saray        49
  5 - Trabzon Sp      44
  6 - Antalya Sp      43
  7 - Konya Sp        39
  8 - Kasımpaşa       36
  9 - G. Birliği      36
 10 - Bursa Sp        35
 11 - Osmanli Sp      34
 12 - Alanya Sp       34
 13 - Karabük Sp      34
 14 - Akhisar Sp      30
 15 - Kayseri Sp      27
 16 - Rize Sp         23
 17 - G. Antep Sp     22
 18 - Adana Sp        20


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


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*** Turkish American Association of California

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*** For more music from Turkey and the Middle East tune to

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*** Yore dance invites you to:

Free Turkish Folkdance Classes.

Please contact with Yore Folk Ensemble for the details.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS who might be interested joining our group.

Yore Folk Ensemble

*** Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California

The local Azeri community organizes many events throughout the year. Follow their activities through their web pages, or subscribe to their e-mail list:

Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California
16400 Lark Ave., Suite 260
Los Gatos, CA 95032

*** Anniversary Gala
You are cordially invited to celebrate Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California 's 36th Anniversary:

Saturday, April 29th at 7:00pm

San Jose Woman's Club
75 S 11th St, San Jose, CA 95112

Join us for an evening of live music, dance and delicious food.

Dress to impress, wear your dancing shoes and come celebrate Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California 's 36th Anniversary!

The space is limited, please purchase your tickets TODAY! Tickets can be purchased through the society's webpages

*** Turkish schools in the Bay Area are starting:

There are currently two schools:
Los Altos and Berkeley
For more information on the Berkeley school go to
Spring session starts February at new LOWER TUITION rates
For more information only in Los Altos school visit