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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 22 July 2017

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

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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Edited by Fuad Tokad

★ Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that 20 injured people were still under treatment after strong quake which hit the Aegean coast of Turkey and Greece on July 21.

  Mr. Yıldırım made a statement about the 6.6. magnitude earthquake in the Aegean province of Muğla on July 22.

  He said three derelict buildings completely collapsed and 32 buildings were heavily damaged in the Muğla's resort town of Bodrum.

  Mr. Yıldırım also expressed his condolences for two people killed, including one Turkish citizen on the Greek island of Kos.

  No casualties were reported in Turkey but 354 people, five of them who were in critical condition, were injured due to strong quake.

  Meanwhile, 310 Turkish citizens were evacuated on July 21 after they were stranded on the Greek island of Kos following the powerful earthquake, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

★ Six outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party militants were killed in province of southeastern province of Siirt, said a Turkish General Staff statement on July 22.

  The statement said the militants opened harassing fire on Turkish soldiers in the rural area of Siirt's Pervari district early on July 21, while the soldiers were passing through the area.

  The soldiers immediately responded, and one militant was killed.

  Later on Friday, an air-supported operation was launched against the terrorists in the same area, who were found to be preparing to attack military posts.

  Five militants were killed in the operation.

★ On July 22 Turkey's president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called for an immediate end to Israel's new restrictions at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

  "Metal detectors and other restrictions should be immediately lifted and a return to the status quo should be made. Everyone should be at guard against provocations at this sensitive time," Mr. Erdoğan said in a written statement.

  "As the summit term president of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, İ call for the international community to act to immediate end practices that restrict freedom of worship."

  He called on Israel to respect the holiness and historical status of the Al-Aqsa compound, saying this is its legal duty.

  Meanwhile, President Erdoğan discussed al-Aqsa crisis with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron via phone.

★ The Turkish and German foreign ministers spoke on the phone on July 22 amid a row between the NATO partners that has sharply worsened since the arrest of several rights activists in İstanbul, according to diplomatic sources.

  Relations sharply deteriorated after a court in İstanbul ordered six rights activists to remain in custody for allegedly aiding a "terror" group on July 18, with German citizen Peter Steudtner and Amnesty International Turkey director İdil Eser among them, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

★ The Turkish parliament debated extending the ongoing state of emergency on late July 17. The ruling Justice and Development Party, however, had a comfortable majority to pass the bill, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Turkey declared a state of emergency on July 21, 2016, after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

  The government says the reason to maintain the state of emergency is to fight against terror threats, primarily against the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, which it accuses of staging last year's coup attempt.

  To enact the state of emergency, the government must see serious indications of widespread violence that could interfere with Turkey's democratic environment or its citizens' basic rights and freedoms as established by the constitution.

  Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People's Party criticized the government for the extending state of emergency, arguing that it has polarized the country.

  Some 50,000 people have been arrested, more than 150,000 dismissed or suspended from jobs in state ınstitutions while hundreds of media outlets, associations, and businesses have been shut down over alleged ties to terror organizations with decree laws issued under the state of emergency.

★ Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party is prepared to carry out more street protests following the 25-day justice march, said its chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on July 17. Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu also rejected President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calling his walk from Ankara to İstanbul a "terrorist march."

  "I am not afraid. There is a serious lack of democracy in this country [and] someone needs to take a stand against it. Our main goal now is to drag Erdoğan down from his palace. We are determined to do this," Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu said in an interview with The Times.

  Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu began his justice march on June 15 from Ankara to İstanbul in protest of the arrest of the prominent Republican People's party MP Enis Berberoğlu on charges of espionage. Accompanied by thousands of people, Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu concluded his march on July 9 in a massive rally in İstanbul with the partıcipation of around one mıllion people. In his address during the rally Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu had vowed that their protests would continue.

★ Main opposition Republican People's Party lawmakers have penned a letter to the newly-appointed Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, urging him to take action about the deteriorating health conditions of two educators who have been on hunger strike for 135 days.

  "We hope that your first duty would be to take a step to save the lives of these two people and we reiterate our call for humanity by sending this letter to you," Republican People's Party lawmakers Zeynep Altıok and Senal Sarıhan said in a letter to Gül on July 20 for imprisoned educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça.

  "As you may know, two people who have lost their jobs with a state of the emergency decree have been on hunger strike for 134 days [as of July 20]. The critical threshold has been passed and they are closer to death every passing day," the letter added.

  Altıok and Sarıhan said they had already written a letter to former Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on the issue, however, failed to receive a response from him.

  "Not one day, a minute has a vital importance between life and death," it added.

  Stating that the two educators have been in prison for 58 days as of July 20, the lawmakers expressed their concern over the educators' deteriorating health conditions.

  "We all know that their demand is work and bread. We are aware that they have been imprisoned unlawfully just because of these demands. Their unjust detentions should be lifted immediately," they said.

  "The first and urgent duty of the newly-appointed Justice Minister should be to ensure the compensation for the injustice that Gülmen and Özakça experienced," the letter said.

  Gül was appointed to his post on July 20 after a cabinet reshuffle.

★ Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said July 20 that Turkish Cyprus could depend on Turkey for support and said Turkey would "continue protecting the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the Eastern Mediterranean," reported HDN.

  Mr. Yıldırım was speaking in Nicosia, where he attended ceremonies marking the 43rd anniversary of Turkey's 1974 intervention into the Cyprus conflict as a guarantor power.

  Recent U.N.-backed reunification talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, plus guarantors Turkey, Britain and Greece recently broke down in Switzerland amid recriminations.

  "İt is a serious contradiction and injustice that Turkish Cypriots have paid for the uncompromising approach of the Greek side for years," Mr. Yıldırım said while addressing a commemoration.

  He also said it was "unfair steps" taken by the Greek Cypriot side which had encouraged deadlock in the talks.

  The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish soldiers intervened against a Greece-backed coup attempt.

  Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party also expressed his wish for a permanent peace on the island.


★ The organizers of the annual Antalya Film Festival have decided to merge the national and international contest categories, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The mayor of Antalya Menderes Türel says there are almost 30 national film festivals, and they want to have Antalya festival identified with the world film.

  Mr. Türel said they have applied for UNESCO's Creative Cities Network in the category of filmmaking to strengthen the city's recognition and identity.

  "The Antalya Film Festival, a platform built to improve cooperation in the industry and project development, is also empowered this year with a $127,000 endorsement," said the mayor.

  Best movie at the festival will receive an award and 50,000 euros. Best director will also receive an award and 25,000 euros. Best feature-length film will be voted for by the public jury and the winner will receive the Avni Tolunay Special Jury Award and 10,000 euros.

  The festival will take place between October 21-27 this year.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Turkish Gendarmerie band has played a cover of the main title theme music of the popular fantasy drama series "Game of Thrones", reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  "Winter is here. Still, as long as there is the gendarmerie everyone is safe," the command ship wrote, sharing the cover of the theme music on its Twitter account.

  The performance comes one day after the first episode of its seventh season had aired.

  Read more at >> here <<  Hear  their performance here

★ Turkey was the "guest country" at this year's PriFest held at the Kosovar capital of Pristina, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The organization had been extremely pleased with the cooperation with Turkish producers, said Vjosa Berisha, president of PriFest.

  Mr. Berisha said the festival featured 810 movies this year, with 40 of them competing in four different categories, while the rest of the movies being screened in the publicity programs.

  Turkish movies "Cold of Kalandar", "Ember" and "Big Big World" were screened at the festival, and Mustafa Kara, the director of "Cold of Kalandar ," and Ecem Uzun, who stars in "Big Big World," met with the audiences.

  Read more at  >> here <<

★ Cat Stevens has channeled the Sufi poet Yunus Emre for a song about divine love as he announced his latest album since his return to Western folk pop.

  "See What Love Did To Me," released on July 20, is the first single off "The Laughing Apple," which will come out September 15 and mark Stevens' fourth album since he ended a three-decade retreat from music following his conversion to Islam.

  The song is dominated by the gentle and joyous folk guitar that characterized the English artist's hits in the 1970s such as "Wild World," "Father and Son" and "Peace Train."

  Yet Stevens, who also goes by the name Yusuf, adds in global influences. An African lute subtly accompanies his guitar around the chorus, while a bridge halfway through the song reaches into the synthesized string orchestrations of Bollywood.

  Stevens sings of love as he looks at the miracles of nature and the force of the divine.

  "I was a blindfolded bumble-bee / And now I see what God did for me / He made me see life flowery," Stevens sings.

  In a statement, Stevens said the lyrics were inspired by verses from Yunus Emre, one of the classic poets from Islam's mystical movement of Sufism.

  Emre, who was born in the 13th century, had a formative influence on the development of Turkish, choosing to write in the language rather than in Farsi or Arabic, which were more common for Sufis.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A symphonic folklore concert took place at the ancient city of Aizanoi in Turkey's inner Aegean province of Kütahya on July 22 to promote Aizanoi to the world, the Culture and Tourism Ministry announced in a statement.

  Aizanoi is 57 kilometers away from the provincial center of Kütahya and is known as the second Ephesus thanks to its well-preserved Zeus temple, a 20,000-person capacity amphitheater, a 13,500-person capacity stadium, a bath, a street with pillars, a necropolis and the world's "first stock exchange."

  Melodies from various parts of Anatolia and Azerbaijan was heard at the concert, which was performed by the İzmir State Symphonic Orchestra along with Turkish folkloric choruses from the capital Ankara and the Central Anatolian province of Sivas, read the ministry statement released on July 19.

  Chef Burak Tüzün lead the concert, it added.

  The name "Aizanoi" comes from the mythological hero "Azan." The city is believed to date back to 3,000 B.C. During the Hellenistic era, Aizanoi was seized by the Pergamon Kingdom and Bithynia from time to time. The city later fell under Roman rule but gradually declined in importance in the early Byzantine era.

  Archaeologists working at the site in 1971 discovered inscriptions indicating the existence of a stock exchange during the Roman era. According to the inscriptions, a slave's price was equal to a donkey, while a horse was worth three slaves.

  Notably, a round-shaped structure dating back to the second century A.D. contains a copy of a paper from Emperor Diocletian that was written in 301 A.D. outlining regulations on sale prices for goods in the market. Because of the document, many have claimed that Aizanoi possessed the world's first stock market in its Macellum building.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The 24th Istanbul Jazz Festival finished with a concert on July 21, featuring the Syrian Women's Chorus, composed of Syrian women who migrated to Istanbul.

  In the concert, the chorus accompanied the Syrian saxophone player Basel Rajoub's band "Sorina" and Sirojiddin Juraev, a master performer of long-necked lutes from Central Asia.

  Basel Rajoub adapts oriental melodies on the saxophone with jazz tunes and performed at the festival the night before the closing concert.

  Rajoub's project Soriana, which translates to "our Syria," brings together well-known kanun virtuoso Feras Charestan and Andea Picccioni, the Italian percussionist who has previously been on tour with Bobby McFerrin and other musicians inspired by the Middle East's rich culture.

  The Syrian Women's Chorus performed their repertory consisting of songs in Middle Eastern languages.

  Syrian refugees living in Istanbul were also among the audience at the concert, which took place with a special collaboration from the Vehbi Koç foundation, the Sabancı Foundation and the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts. This initiative is the result of a joint collaboration between the Istanbul Jazz Festival and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

  The Sakıp Sabancı Museum has been chosen as the concert venue.

  A discussion preceded the concert on the meaning of the music for the refugees as well as the experiences of musicians abroad. Basel Rajoub, a doctoral student and researcher and musician Selda Öztürk and one of the members of the Syrian Women's Chorus shared their views. Ethnomusicologist Evrim Hikmet Öğüt moderated the discussion with simultaneous translation in both Turkish and Arabic.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A 1,800-year-old mosaic, which showed the sacrifice of Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra during the Trojan War in Greek mythology, was found at excavation works in the ancient city of Perge in Turkey's Mediterranean region.

  The city of Perge is situated 17 kilometers east of Antalya, within the borders of Aksu. The important monumental structures of the city have been excavated since 1946 and due to the excavated sculptures, the Antalya Museum has one of the richest collections of Roman sculptures.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ An excavation in the Dargeçit district of the southeastern region of Turkey, which will soon be left under the reservoir waters of the Ilısu Dam, has revealed crucial information about the North Mesopotamian people's social life 10 millennia ago, particularly about burial rituals and the ancient belief in life after death.

  Bodies buried in the fetal position, with their knees pulled up to their stomach, were found in the basements of houses in the site, symbolizing the position of a baby in the womb, according to information provided by Nihat Erdoğan, the manager of the Mardin Museum who conducts the excavation of the site.

  The findings point at belief in rebirth after death, Erdoğan told the Doğan News Agency.

  The decades-old Ilısu Dam project, which was first planned under Southeastern Anatolia Project's investments in the 1960s, was first tendered in 1997. The potential damage caused by the dam's construction, which is planned to be finalized this year, has been discussed for a quarter of a century.

  Archaeologists have been carrying out intense work since 2008 in the large area, which includes the site known as "Boncuklu Tarla," literally meaning "beady field" in English.

  Houses with quarry stone walls and hardened clay floors from the Aceramic Neolithic Age, which date back to 10,000 B.C. and 7,000 B.C., were found during the excavations at the site in Dargeçit.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ A team of Turkish and Italian archeologists have unearthed what could be the world's oldest smiley emoji in one of the most important ancient cities of the world, Karkamış, located in the southeastern province of Gaziantep along Turkey's border with Syria.

  Nikolo Marchetti, a professor from Bologna University who is leading the excavation works at the ancient city near Gaziantep, told state-run Anadolu Agency that Karkamış was one of the key Hittite cities back in 2,000 B.C.

  During excavations this season, the team found various ancient vases and pots in the necropolis site.

  "One of the most interesting findings of this season was a pitcher with a smiley emoji on it. This pitcher, which traced back to 1,700 B.C., was used to drink sherbet, a sweet drink. We have probably found the oldest smiley emoji. We do not know with which purpose the craftsmen drew this symbol on the pitcher but we call it a smile," Marchetti said, as quoted by the Anatolia News Agency on July 17.

  Among other finds were sculptures in the palace of King Katuwa, who ruled the area around 900 B.C. There were five large orthostats in limestone and basalt, a dark grey to black rock, that portray rows of individuals bearing gifts of gazelle. An orthostat is an upright stone or slab that forms part of a structure.

  The archaeologists also found a mosaic floor in the palace of Sargon II, who reigned around 700 B.C. over Assyria, an ancient empire mostly located in Mesopotamia. The team finished exploration of the ruins of the expedition house of Lawrence of Arabia, who worked in Karkamış between 1911 and 1914.

  Read more at >> here <<


EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 3.54


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
 Ankara, in central Turkey:        90/64 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean:    91/79 Mostly Sunny
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 90/72 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean:             95/75 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea:        79/72 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey:       82/57 Mostly Cloudy
See water temperatures:
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         78
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ      78
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir          78
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 85


  Ismail with his twin brother
(click on photo to open a larger version on a new window)

★ The 656 annual historical Kırkpınar wrestling competitions ended on July 16. The champion this year is from Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya.

  İsmail Balaban beat his arrival Orhan Okulu, also from the same province. He won a prize of approximately $14,000 in local currency.

  Balaban is 30 years-old farmer. He is also studying towards his degree in sports at the Adnan Menderes University. When he was younger, he supplemented his farming income, working as a laborer loading bales of straw, boxes of apples and other fruits onto trucks, which gave him a good workout.

★ Turkey's Galatasaray soccer team was eliminated from the UEFA Europa League after drawing 1-1 and losing out on a 3-1 aggregate to Swedish newcomer Östersund late on July 20.

  Galatasaray's Croatian coach Igor Tudor and chairman Dursun Özbek faced growing calls of resignation on July 21 following the Istanbul club's humiliating exit from the European competition.

  The match on Galatasaray's home turf, Türk Telekom Stadium, saw disappointed Turkish fans hoping their team to make a comeback after last week's first-leg match at J√§mtkraft Arena, where the team was defeated 2-0.

★ Turkish forward Cedi Osman has announced he is leaving Anadolu Efes to join the roster of NBA heavyweights the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  Speaking to the Turkish sports channel NTVSpor, Macedonian-born Osman, 22, said he was thrilled to be able to play alongside some of the NBA's hottest stars.

  Wikipedia article on Osman:  >> here <<

  ★Another Turkish basketball player is coming over here to the US

  Turkish forward Furkan Korkmaz has signed a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, completing a "dream move" for the 19-year-old player.

  "We are happy to have Furkan Korkmaz join us in Philadelphia this year where we feel he will be best positioned to develop physically and acclimate to the NBA game," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement.

  "Furkan is another talented young player that we are excited to have in our program," he added.

  Former Anadolu Efes and Banvit player Korkmaz spent a week in Philadelphia getting to know the Sixers and their staff back in June. He stated his desire then to come over and play in the NBA as soon as possible.

  Korkmaz was selected as the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He spent last season in the Turkish league playing for Banvit, on loan from Anadolu Efes.

  Korkmaz will join Ersan İlyasova of the Atlanta Hawks, Ömer Aşık of the New Orleans Pelicans and Enes Kanter of the Oklahoma City Thunder to become the fourth active Turkish player in the NBA.

★ The 23rd Summer Deaflympics started on July 18 in Turkey's Black Sea province of Samsun, where more than 3,000 athletes from 97 countries - the highest ever number of participants in the event's history - are competing.

  Around 1,500 volunteers are carrying out duties during the event, of whom 250 are deaf. In addition, 500 sign language translators will work at the event.

  The participants are competing in 21 categories, including athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, cycling, football, golf, handball, judo, karate, mountain bike, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball and wrestling.

  The Deaflympics will be held at 37 sports facilities in eight different districts of Samsun.

  As many as 294 athletes are participating in the event from Turkey.

  Turkey participated in the Deaflympics for the first time in 1989 and won 84 medals so far, 17 of which were gold; 33 of these medals were won by Turkish athletes in last summer's games in Sofia, Bulgaria.

  The Summer Deaflympics will continue until July 30.

  Home page of Deaflympics:  >> here <<

★ The men's wheelchair basketball team of Turkey ranked first at the European Wheelchair Basketball Championship in the Spanish coastal city of Tenerife on June 30, according to official IWBF Europe website, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Turkey has won every quarter to beat the Britain, 76-69. This is the first championship of Turkey at Europe's Wheelchair Basketball event.

  President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated the team on its success via a social media message.



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

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  Sat & Sun, August 5-6, 2017 11am - 7pm

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  Live Music and Entertainment: Folk Dancing, Belly Dancing & Art Exhibits

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