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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 15 July 2017

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 15 July 2017]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ The Turkish government marked the one-year anniversary Saturday of the 2016 failed military coup by firing nearly 7,400 additional civil servants, convening a special parliamentary session and hosting a series of "national unity marches", reports the Voice of America.

  The Voice of America adds that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had previously dismissed at least 100,000 civil servants he characterized as supporters of the aborted coup and arrested another 50,000 people.

  The Voice of America wrote the following in its news:

  "The scale of the purge has widened political divisions in Turkey, with government opponents denouncing it as an attempt to silence Erdoğan's detractors.

  The U.S. State Department issued a statement Friday applauding Turkish people "of all backgrounds and political views" who "took to the streets to preserve the rights and freedoms of their democratic society."

  The celebrations are occurring less than one week after Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu organized the largest opposition rally in Turkey in years.

  Kılıçdaroğlu called for a full explanation of what happened on the night of the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, including when government authorities first learned the uprising was afoot.

  The Turkish opposition says that Mr. Erdoğan's government is moving toward authoritarianism, while the Turkish leader says that the crackdown on rights is necessary to thwart security threats to the ruling government.

  Mr. Erdoğan claims the coup was led by a cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States for nearly two decades. Gülen denies any involvement."

  In related news, in a speech later on July 15, Turkish president Erdoğan spoke while unveiling a "martyr's Memorial" on the Bosporus bridge in Istanbul, and said that perpetrators of the coup should be imprisoned in a facility like the United States Guantanamo Bay prison or executed.

  According to the Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party did not attend the event, citing the removal of party leaders' speeches from the program.

  Read more at >> here << and  >> here <<

★ Speaking of Fethullah Gülen, the National Public Radio (NPR) and the Wall Street Journal had interviews with the cleric this week.

  In both interviews he again denied any involvement in orchestrating the attempted coup of last year.

  In the NPR interview he concluded by saying that if he were to be extradited to Turkey by the US authorities, and sentenced to death by Turkish authorities, his last wishes before his execution would be to spit in the face of the person who caused all this suffering and oppressed thousands of innocents.

  When the NPR host Robert Siegel asked if this person is [Pres. Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan, Gülen responded "who else could it be?"

  Listen to the NPR interview here: >> here <<  Also listen to an interview with the Turkish ambassador Mr. Kılıç: >> here <<

★ We reported to you last week that the United Nations sponsored talks on the reunification of Cyprus between Greek and Turkish Cypriots broke down.

  This week news reports indicate tensions flared up again between Turkey and the Cypriot Greeks on gas exploration off the island.

  Turkey reportedly deployed warships to Cypriot waters.

  According to the Voice of America, "Turkey is determined to protect both its own rights and interests in its continental shelf and to continue its support to the Turkish Cypriot side," said a toughly worded statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry late Thursday.

  Former Turkish Ambassador Mithat Rende, who is an expert on eastern Mediterranean energy issues, said "Turkey made it clear on every occasion these energy resources around the island, they are the resources of both sides". "They [Greek and Turkish Cypriots] have to sit together and have to probably establish a committee on how to benefit from the resources. The Turkish side made clear that what is unilaterally done is totally unacceptable."

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A few headlines:

  - Austria has barred the Turkish economy minister from entering the country to attend a rally marking the anniversary of the failed coup attempt in Turkey last year

  - Secretary of State Tillerson met in Istanbul on July 9 with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Tillerson said the strained U.S. relations with Turkey are beginning to improve, but will require much more work.

  - Secretary of State Tillerson marks failed Turkish coup anniversary, Tillerson said the Turkish people exercised their rights under the Turkish constitution, defended their place in a The Turkish government justified the moves as necessary to preserve order.

  - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has praised Turkish people "for standing up" against the coup attempt.

  - In a joint statement issued by European Union Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, the bloc reiterated its condemnation of the attempted takeover, pledging full support to the democratically elected institutions.

  - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has dropped a total of 12,600 applications from Turkey that were filed regarding the state of emergency decrees, the Turkish Justice Ministry said on July 14.

  - Both the Turkish and Greek sides are blaming the other for the collapse of the latest Cyprus peace talks.

  - Thailand is facing a renewed dilemma over the fate of more than 60 ethnic Uighur Turk asylum seekers amid reports of pressure by China for the group's return. At the same time, Turkish diplomats also insisted the people be transferred to Turkey.

  -The detention of 10 human rights defenders on July 5 in Turkey is a general message of intimidation given by the Turkish government to human rights organizations, Amnesty International's Turkey researcher Andrew Gardner told Deutsche Welle Turkish in an interview on July 13. Among the detainees is the director of Amnesty International Turkey.

★ An article by the Voice of America writes that Turkish starts up are heading to Silicon Valley.

  Turkish entrepreneurs at a recent tech conference in California are saying that it's been harder for startups to attract foreign investment due to the instability created by the 2016 coup attempt.

  One other reason is after the coup attempt a lot of talent either left the country or ended up in jail.

  Despite being a market of nearly 80 million people, Turkey is still limiting for companies ready to becoming bigger, said Elif Ceylan, U.S. program coordinator for ITU Gate, which is a program out of Istanbul Technical University trying to bring successful Turkish startups to the United States.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Hürriyet Daily News reporter William Armstrong has interviewed the author of a new book about cronyism in public procurement in Turkey. Mr. Armstrong prefaces his interview as follows:

  When the AKP [Justice and Development Party] came to power in 2002, many voters saw it as a clean break with corrupt old-school parties that had mismanaged Turkey's economy and brought about a massive economic crisis in 2000-01. In recent years, however, the country has fallen steadily in Transparency International's annual Corruption Perceptions Index.

  The central importance of state contracts in the economy and the close ties that companies must have with the government is among the main drivers of corruption in Turkey today. "Politics of Favoritism in Public Procurement in Turkey" by academic Esra Gürakar examines the issue through changes to the Public Procurement Law (PPL) that was introduced after the 2000-01 economic crisis in a bid to make such contracts more transparent and efficient. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government subsequently made over 150 amendments to the law, essentially reopening the door to widespread cronyism and favoritism.

  Gürakar spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News about her book and what it tells us about the economic environment in today's Turkey.

  See the link on our transcript of the news on the web to access the full interview.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ Jan Boelen has been named as the curator of the next edition of the Istanbul Design Biennial, which will take place next year, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Boelen is the art director of Z33 Contemporary Art House in Hasselt, Belgium, and the experimental design laboratory atelier LUMA. He is also the head of the Social Design postgraduate program in the Eindhoven Design School.

  The Belgian art director, who was born in 1967 in Genk, completed his product design education in the Media and Design School known as LUCA Art School. The biennial's conceptual framework will be announced later by Boelen.

  Organized for the fourth time by Istanbul Culture and Art Foundation the Istanbul Design Biennial will take place between Sept. 22 and Nov. 4, 2018.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Anna Laudel Contemporary has brought together a selection of works from nine artists using different mediums including painting, sculpture, photograph, installation and collage, in its latest exhibition "Rooms & Walls", reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The exhibition will be held across three floors of exhibition space in the gallery on Bankalar Street in Istanbul's Karaköy neighborhood, and will be on display until Aug. 25.

  Opening on July 7, Rooms & Walls group exhibition showcases work of artists from Turkey and abroad, including Detlef Waschkau from Germany, Brigitte Spiegeler from the Netherlands, and Arzu Başaran, Ramazan Can, Tuğçe Diri, Bilal Hakan Karakaya, Ekin Su Koç, Gazi Sansoy and Serpil Yeter from Turkey.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A Turkish-Italian team has completed the first part of their seven-season-long excavation works in an ancient site in the town of Karkamış, located in Turkey's province of Gaziantep on the Turkish-Syrian border, state-run Anatolia News Agency reported on July 14.

  The works at the site, which dates back to the Hittite Empire in 2,000 B.C., have been undertaken under the leadership of Nicolo Marchetti, a professor at Bologna University, and with the support of the Turkish and Italian governments, the Gaziantep Metropolitan University and SANKO Holding.

  Excavations will resume in September Prof. Marchetti said.

  Despite Syria's civil war, archaeologists on the Turkish side of border-straddling Karkamış unearthed sculptures, mosaics and other artifacts in relative safety.

  The site was first excavated by British archaeologist before World War I. Among them was TE Lawrence later known as Lawrence of Arabia.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Excavation and restoration work has resumed in the ancient city of Sagalassos in the southern city of Burdur's Ağlasun district, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  According to written sources, the history of Sagalassos dates back to 333 B.C. when it was conquered by Alexander the Great. The city had been one of the five most important ceramic production centers in the Roman era.

  A team of 90 people from different countries will work in the excavation area this year and the works will continue for the next three months. A team of five experts from the city's Mehmet Akif Ersoy University will give academic and technologic support to the excavation.

  The head of the excavation team, Professor Jereon Poblome, said the most excavation would be done in the ancient agora area.

  Professor Pablome is from the Belgian Leuven Catholic University.

  Among the artifacts unearthed in last year's excavations were 15-ft. tall sculptures of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Emperor Hadrian.

  Others included friezes of a dancing girl and sculptures of the goddess of victory Nike and Dyonisos, Nemesis, Asklepios and Kronis.

  The ancient city had been founded on the slopes of the Taurus mountain range and had been the metropolis of the Roman province of Pisidia.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has inscribed the "Aphrodisias Archaeological Site" on the UNESCO World Heritage List upon Turkey's nomination, Turkey's Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a written statement on July 10, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Aphrodisias, located in Turkey's western province of Aydın, has been on Turkey's World Heritage Tentative List since 2009 and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the country, as a unique archaeological heritage with well-preserved sculptures, monuments, inscriptions, structures and marble quarries.

  The temple of Aphrodite dates from the 3rd century BCE and the city was built one century later. The wealth of Aphrodisias came from the marble quarries and the art produced by its sculptors. The city streets are arranged around several large civic structures, which include temples, a theater, an agora, and two bath complexes.

  The discovery of Aphrodisias dates back to 1958, when a magazine sent legendary photographer Ara Güler, dubbed "The Eye of Istanbul," to document the opening of the Kemer Dam in the Aydın province. On the way back, his driver got lost, resulting in the discovery of Aphrodisias, the ancient cult center devoted to the goddess Aphrodite.

  When Güler returned to Istanbul, he sent the images to the Architectural Review, and soon received a telegram from Horizon magazine requesting color photos and an article to go alongside the photo essay. Güler suggested New York University Professor Kenan Erim to pen the article. r. accepted the commission and went on to devote his life to excavating Aphrodisias.

  See the original photos taken by Güler back in 1964: >> here <<

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A high school student in the Edremit district of Turkey's northwestern province of Balıkesir has developed a software that translates speech into sign language by using Google's "Speech to Text" open source codes, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The student, Kayra Enez Özenalp, said he decided to start the project after watching a disabled employee at his school having difficulties in communicating with teachers and students.

  Initially the program contains just 18 words, but more sentences from daily life will be included in the near future, he said.

  The translation program , which is currently in Turkish, will also be made available in English and German in the future.

  Özenalp said he will place the software without any commercials on Google Play for download.



-- UEFA Europa League Second qualifying round, Game 1 Turkish Premiere League champion Galatasaray was beaten by Sweden's Ostersund 2-0 in Sweden on July 13.


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


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