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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 29 April 2017

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 29 April 2017]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ Turkey on April 29 blocked all access inside the country to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, the communications agency said, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority said it had implemented the ban on, without making clear the reason for the move.

  Turkish media said that the ban was imposed because Wikipedia had failed to remove content promoting terror and also linking Turkey with terror groups.

  There was no indication as to when the ban might be removed, with a formal court order expected to follow in the next days.

★ On April 16 Turks had a referendum to decide whether to expand the power of the president. Currently the president is simply a figurehead and all the power is vested in the Prime Minister.

  The current president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his former party Justice and Development were behind the referendum.

  In the results the "yes" votes received just over 51% making the constitutional change possible. However, the opposition claims that almost 5 million votes were not valid since they were not pre-stamped to prevent tampering. The Supreme Board of Elections rejected the opposition's objections.

  According to the US News and World Report, Musa Cam, a lawmaker from Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party said on Friday he had submitted an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights demanding the annulment of a referendum.

  His party is also expected to appeal the referendum results to the European court.

  The Republican People's Party had applied a week ago to the Council of State , Turkey's high judicial body handling complaints and appeals against state and public institutions, to rule against the irregularities in the voting.

  However, earlier in the week, the Council of State said it had no jurisdiction in the case, the Anatolia News Agency reported.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Earlier this week Turkish planes bombed Syrian Kurds across the border in Syria. The bombing killed 20 US backed Kurdish fighters. Although US sees the Syrian Kurdish fighters as an ally and supports them, Turks see the fighters as an extension of the rebel Turkish Kurds.

  On Friday the Associated Press reported that US deployed armored vehicles in areas in northern Syria along the Turkish border. The Syrian Kurds say that the American forces started patrolling the border.

  According to the British paper Guardian, Turkey's conflict with the Syrian Kurds is straining relations with the United States. Turkey has urged the US to use primarily Arab forces in liberating ISIS- controlled Raqqa. However, US sees the Kurdish forces and their Arab auxiliaries as the most well prepared to spearhead an assault on the city.

  The US had expressed "deep concern" over the Turkish raid. Also, on April 27 State Department Deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said that the raids were putting the US soldiers on the field at risk, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Read more at >> here <<

  Turkey also bombed the encampments of rebel Turkish Kurds in northern Iraq on Tuesday. However, six Iraqi Kurdish military were killed by mistake.

  According to Reuters, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his condolences to the Iraqi Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani in a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.

  The two later talked about economic cooperation, energy and regional security issues. The Iraqi Kurdish leader has express their interest in exporting natural gas to Europe through Turkey.

★ A Russian naval intelligence ship sank just north of Turkey in the Black Sea after colliding with a Turkish freighter. 78 crew of the Russian ship were rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard.

★ Turkey's Justice and Development Party government jailed over 1000 police and suspended 9100 this week in a further crackdown on Gülenists, the followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen.

  Fethullah Gülen who lives in self imposed exile in the US since 1999 is being accused of organizing the failed 2016 coup attempt.

  The number of people arrested after the coup attempt has is reached 50,000 people. In addition almost 135,000 people were sacked from their jobs. Hundreds of private companies thought to be owned by the sympathizers of Gülen are also seized by the government.

★ According to Samuel Osborne of the British daily independent, Turkey's relations with the European Union have reached their lowest point in recent times, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said.

  His comments came after a leading European human rights body placed Turkey back on a watchlist over concerns about the functioning of democratic institutions in the country.

  Mr Yıldırım told reporters Turkey would decide on what steps it would now take regarding the decision by the Strasbourg-based Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

  The 47-member based council placed Turkey on the watchlist over the ongoing crackdown on dissent since last year's coup attempt, rights violations and concerns about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increased grip on power.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ Confidence in Turkey's economy has risen in April, hitting its highest level since December 2015, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

The Economic Confidence Index rose from March by 3.6 percentage points to 99.5 points in April, the Institute said in a statement on April 27.

★ Turkey should bring back under any circumstances as the country needs to use all the latest instruments to raise its ranking among the most popular tourism destinations, Turkey's Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The website on March 30 began to halt selling rooms in Turkey to Turkish users, one day after a court decision to block the website in the country upon accusations of unfair competition by a sector association.

★ Other headlines on the Turkish economy:

  - Russia, Turkey face common growth challenges despite different exposures to commodity cycle: rating agency Moody's recent report says.

  - Turkey hopes for major defense export deal with Saudi Arabia: Turkey's Defense minister announces.

  - Turkey's foreign trade deficit narrowed by 10.3 percent year-on-year in March, the Turkish Statistical Institute said on April 28.

  - Turkey's Central Bank keeps main rate unchanged, raises late liquidity rate, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  - Turkey and six African countries signed cooperation deals in agriculture, fisheries and livestock in the Mediterranean resort province of Antalya on April 28, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  - Turkey's Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tüfenkci has backed the World Trade Organization's first-ever multilateral trade agreement, saying it would help developing countries boost their exports, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  - Turkey is set to introduce a new system to increase the data quality in tracking suspicious transactions, in line with efforts to boost the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, senior officials announced on April 26, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.


★ The 2016-17 theater season has seen a "substantial increase" in the number of theatergoers, according to Erdal Küçükkömürcü, the deputy director general of Turkish State Theaters.

  "We reached 1.5 million viewers in the season's first six months. This number hit 1.7 million in the first eight months, and we'll reach 2 million viewers by the end of the season [in May] with the festivals we organize," Küçükkömürcü told state-run Anatolia News Agency.

  The State Theaters had hosted around 1.77 million viewers in the 2015-16 season.

★ Turkey's 21st Yapı Kredi Afife Theater Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Haliç Congress Center on April 24, Doğan News Agency has reported.

  Among the major awards, the best actress and best actor awards went to Şerif Erol and Merve Dizdar, respectively.

  Bakırköy Municipal Theaters received the Best Production Award for Wolfram Lotz's "The Ridiculous Darkness." Among the special awards, the Muhsin Ertuğrul Award went to director Işıl Kasapoğlu, while the Yapı Kredi Award went to actress Ayla Algan.

  The ceremony's special award, which was given in the name of theater actor Haldun Dormen for a second time, was presented to "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," a glam rock musical.

  Yapı Kredi Afife Theater Awards Executive Board President Salih Başağa said they were working to be a "culture and arts bank."

★ Istanbul's Anna Laudel Contemporary will present "Everyday's Poetry " Scenes from the Fullness of Life" between April 27 and June 25, displaying critically acclaimed works by Fernando Botero, whose works have never previously been exhibited in Turkey, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Born in Medellin in 1932, the Colombian artist is listed among great artists of modern painting and sculpture with a unique pictorial identity due to his instantly recognizable and much loved corpulent figures. The art of Botero contains many references to his own Colombian culture and a great deal of satirical, ironic, social-critical, political and humanistic implications.

★ We reported to you last week about an idol going on auction in the US. The figurine was smuggled out of Turkey, experts say.

  This week the Hürriyet Daily News reported that Turkey has started legal action for the return of the 5000 year old marble figure.

  The Guennol Stargazer, which dates back to the third millennium BC, is regarded as one of best examples of Kiliya-type Anatolian marble female idols.

  The nine-inch figure -- which is thought to have been taken from Gelibolu [Gallipoli], Turkey -- has an estimated sale price of $3 million.

  A U.S. court ruled that Christie's Auction House cannot hand the work of art over to the recipient until a final decision is made, according to Avcı.

★ Illegal excavations that have been continuing for the last three months in the ancient city of Myndos in Bodrum's Gümüşlük neighborhood have elicited the anger of locals due to the lack of any action to halt the activity, reports the Doğan news agency.

  "They're doing whatever they want in the ancient city. Treasure hunters are looting the national treasures of Gümüşlük, Bodrum and Turkey and nobody is taking a measure against it," said the deputy district chairman of the Homeland Party and Gümüşlük neighborhood representative Sinan Hıncal.

  Members of the Gümüşlük Platform, who informed the rural police and museum officials while also filing a criminal complaint, recently showed the illegal excavations to members of the press.

  Myndos was established at least four centuries before the Common Era.

★ A coffin thought to belong to a Russian general has been unearthed during foundation excavations for a construction project in the eastern province of Ardahan, Doğan News Agency reported on April 26.

  Ünver Solaklıoğlu, an archaeologist at the Kars Museum, suggested that the skeleton could belong to a Russian general who lived around 140 years ago in the area, according to initial examinations.

★ Anti-smuggling teams have seized a stolen Torah believed to be 1,500 years old, along with other historical artifacts belonging to the Hellenistic and Seljuq periods, in an operation in Turkey's western resort town of Ayvalık, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Rural police forces also detained two suspects who were later released on probation.

  The smugglers are believed to have brought the artifacts from Istanbul and eastern province of Bingöl, according to police sources.

★ Syrian migrants living in Istanbul have brought their rich food culture to the city, with many of them opening restaurants across the city over the past few years, reports Zeynep Bilgehan of the Hürriyet Daily News.

  These restaurants often add Turkish names to their brands as they adapt to Istanbul. For example, one dessert shop is called "Zairouneoğlu Tatlı," which had originally been serving in Syria since 1975 under the name "Zaitoune."

  The restaurant now has four branches, but owner Abdurrahman Zaiotoune told daily Hürriyet that they still want to return to Syria after the war is over.

  Syrian-American journalist Dalia Mortada, 29, has been carrying out a project called "Savoring Syria," which aims to reveal the rich tastes of the country.

  Mortada arrived in Istanbul in 2011 to escape from the protests, but was unable to return due to the war.

  She said her project developed after she started tracking Syrian tastes and stories in Istanbul.


EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 3.55


Low and High Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey:        81/48 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean:    79/64 Mostly Sunny
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 73/55 Mostly Sunny
Izmir, on the Aegean:             82/55 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea:        68/52 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey:       63/39 Partly Cloudy



★ Premiere League

★ Results for week: 28
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      -      Trabzon Sp      0 - 3
Akhisar Sp      -      Bursa Sp        5 - 1
G. Saray        -      Fenerbahçe      0 - 1
Beşiktaş        -      Adana Sp        3 - 2
★ In games played so far this weekend:
G. Antep Sp     -      Karabük Sp      0 - 0
Kayseri Sp      -      Alanya Sp       3 - 0
Samsun Sp       -      G. Birliği      0 - 0
★ Turkey's Fenerbahçe became the first team to advance to the 2017 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four, which will be held in its own city, by completing a playoff sweep of Panathinaikos with a 79-61 victory on April 25 at Fenerbahçe Ülker Sports Arena on April 25.

★ On the women's front, Fenerbahçe failed to claim the Eurolegaue Women trophy, losing 77-63 to Russian club Dynamo Kursk in the final of the Final Four event in Ekaterinburg on April 16.

  It was the third lost final for the Istanbul club, which lost in the final to UMMC Ekaterinburg in 2013 and city rival Galatasaray one year later.

★ In the TEB-BNP Paribas tennis tournament taking place in Istanbul, Turkey's Çağla Büyükakçay is doing well. She beat Babos, who ranks 30th, 2-0 . Büyükakçay herself ranks 181.


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


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