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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 29 July 2017

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

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ As we have told you in the past few weeks, the relationship between Germany and Turkey is not going along very well these days. There are some 4 million Turks who make their homes in Germany, and every year millions of Germans spend their vacations in Turkey. Germany is also the biggest trading partner of Turkey. So both in the cultural and people to people ties, and in commercial relations two countries are deeply in touch with each other.

  However, Germany is at odds with certain Turkish policies, in turn, the ruling Justice and Development Party led by President Erdoğan is at odds with German policies as it relates to Turkey.

  Last week, Deutsche Welle reported that Germany's foreign affairs minister Sigmar Gabriel has announced a review of German state guarantees for financing exports to Turkey, and warned citizens to be careful when travelling to the country amid escalating tensions.

  Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday that Germany would talk to European Union partners about Turkey's aspirations to join the bloc and made clear Berlin could no longer guarantee German corporate exports to the country under the government's Hermes loan program. In 2016 alone, the German government guaranteed $23.7 billion worth of exports to the country.

  Moreover, Gabriel said he could not envisage talks on expanding the European customs union to include Turkey.

  The measures against Turkey come in response to the detention of a German human rights activist, and signal a more confrontational stance to the country after an escalation of tensions.

  Part of Turkey's anti-German campaign is also a list of 68 companies and individuals in Germany who allegedly have ties with Fethullah Gülen, an enemy of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Gülen is a cleric who has been living in self exile in Pennsylvania since 1999. Gülen and his followers are blamed for the 2016 failed coup attempt.

  Among the companies are the German chemical giant BASF, carmaker Daimler which produces the Mercedes-Benz line of cars, but it also includes a Turkish fast food restaurant and a late-night food store.

  Earlier this month, Erdoğan told the German daily Die Zeit that his officials sent 4,500 files on alleged Gülen sympathizers to Germany and demanded that they be extradited to Turkey.

  "You need to deliver these terrorists to Turkey," he said. "As long as you don't, Turkey will perceive Germany as a country which is protecting terrorists."

  German officials view the list from Turkey as "absurd" and "ridiculous."'

  And here are a few related headlines:

  - Germany will review arms sales to Turkey.

  - In an open letter published in German and Turkish in Germany's mass circulation newspaper Bild, "You belong here," German Foreign affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel tells Germany's Turks, despite difficult relations between Germany and Turkey.

  - Facing further decline in German visitors due to political tensions, Turkey's tourism industry has already begun courting Middle Eastern and Balkan markets.

  In related news, on Monday Germany got some good news: The German interior ministry said it was informed by Turkish officials that the allegations leveled against German firms, including automaker Daimler and chemical firm BASF, had been withdrawn.

  A spokeswoman for the German economy ministry, Tanja Alemany, said Monday that despite the "clarification" of the issue, it would "take a while before German companies can win back confidence" in Turkey as a place to do business.

  Read more at >> here <<

  Cumhuriyet headline: "The blow again is to the opposition"

★ 17 staff of the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet are being tried on charges of support of "armed terrorist organizations." The trials are being extensively covered not only in Turkey but also abroad.

  Here in the US National Public Radio had several broadcasts directly from Istanbul.

  Cumhuriyet is the oldest newspaper in Turkey and is these days considered to be on the left of the political spectrum and definitely in opposition to the ruling Erdoğan administration of the Justice and Development Party.

  Most analysts say that the trial is just a show and part of the broader crackdown on the media by the Erdoğan administration.

  New York Times also had several articles. The last one had some good news: "Turkey frees seven journalists, but others remain behind bars", was the New York Times headline. Among the released was the 75-year-old cartoonists of the paper.

  However, another staff member, Ahmet Şık, who had an impassioned defense is now being asked to be tried also for what he said during his defense. Şık was prosecuted and thrown into jail between 2011 and 2012 by the Gülenists for a book he tried to publish named "The Imam's Army", Imam here being Fethullah Gülen. Şık is now being accused of being a Gülenist .

  In related news, according to the Hürriyet Daily News, former Turkish President Abdullah Gül also jumped into the fray, and said on July 28 that it would be more appropriate to try daily Cumhuriyet journalists without arrest.

  "I think that it will be an element that would relieve the government in Turkey at home and abroad" Gül told reporters. Mr. Gül was probably referring to the pressure that is being exerted on Turkey from foreign governments, NGOs and journalists and writers associations.

  Also in the news was the US state department reaction: "We continue to urge the government of Turkey to respect and ensure freedom of expression, fair trial guarantees, judicial independence, other human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to also release the journalists and others who we believe are being held arbitrarily under the government's state of emergency," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters at a daily press briefing July 27. The remarks came when Nauert was asked about the ongoing trials of the Cumhuriyet staff.

  Ms. Nauert said that John Bass, the US ambassador to Turkey, was at the trial with other embassy staff to show US concern.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ According to the Anatolia News Agency, a court in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakır on July 28 approved an indictment prepared by the province's chief public prosecutor's office, demanding a prison sentence from 9.5 to 23 years for Peoples' Democratic Part deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü.

  Mr. Kürkçü will face trial on charges of being a "member of an armed terrorist organization," "making propaganda for a terrorist group" and "inciting the public into hatred and hostility or contempt."

  Mr. Kürkçü is 69 years old. His party is often accused of being a front to the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party, which has been waging a war against the Turkish security forces since mid-1980s. It has been also involved in many terrorist attacks and bombings on civilians throughout Turkey. Mr. Kürkçü is accused of describing the Kurdistan Workers Party assaults as "legitimate defense". Mr. Kürkçü also described the Turkish Republic and its law enforcement agencies as "occupiers," the indictment said.

★ Turkey's president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Saudi Arabia, and other neighbors of Qatar to mediate the dispute that engulfed the region.

  Although Turkey has openly sided with Qatar, Turkish press reported that Erdoğan took a more conciliatory tone when speaking to Qatar's opponents.

★ According to the Deutsche Welle a, at least nine animals were rescued from the Aalim al-Sahar (Magic World) zoo in Aleppo and taken to safety and care in neighboring Turkey. The small group of rescued animals included two bears, two hyenas, two tigers and two lions.

  Having survived six years of clashes in Aleppo, the animals arrived at a rehabilitation center in Turkey's northwestern province of Bursa after traveling 1,100 kilometers (675 miles), where they will be examined.

  The project was a joint effort between the Turkish environment ministry and the international animal charity Four Paws.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Johannes Hahn, the European Union's membership commissioner, told Turkish foreign affairs minister Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at a press conference Tuesday that Turkey must reverse its trend toward authoritarianism before any progress could be made on Turkey's entry bid to the European Union.

  Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and accompanying Turkish officials were visiting Brussels for talks with the European Union officials.

  Ahead of his visit, Deutsche Welle wrote that Turkey has stepped up its verbal assaults on the Western world, especially Germany. According to the Deutsche Welle a article, Turkish president Erdoğan said that Turkey would no longer be submissive and cede to every Western whim.

  His anti-Western rhetoric was echoed in Turkish pro-government media, with one paper saying that Germany under Chancellor Angela Merkel was worse than during Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

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

★ The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey approved to finance a $98,000 project aiming to forecast the timing of future earthquakes in the Aegean province of İzmir, Turkish daily Habertürk reported on July 26.

  The project named "ditch" ("hendek" in Turkish) will be run by Dokuz Eylül University's Earthquake Research and Implementation Center and is expected to determine where fault lines are located.

  The project involves digging at least 10 ditches in the province's most "dangerous" five fault lines. The officials will start the project with the İzmir fault line, which has the most destructive potential.

★ According to Gamze Kolcu of the Hürriyet daily news, Turkish biology Association criticize the education ministry for excluding evolution from the curriculum of schools.

  According to news reports, the final curriculum published on July 18 left out evolution but added "jihad" as a subject to study. Turkey's Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz said evolution was not included in the national curriculum "because it is above the students' level and not directly relevant," leaving the topic to university education.


★ The 14th Bodrum International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival began on July 26 with a concert by French violinist Gilles Apap and accordionist Myriam Lafargue in the centuries-old historical Koyunbaba Ancient Stone Pit in Turkey's Aegean resort province of Bodrum.

  In her opening speech, the art consultant to the festival, pianist Gülsin Onay said they will present a program of 15 concerts from classical to jazz music.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ On July 28 and 29 the festival is presenting a performance by Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba, founded by Cuban artist and choreographer Lizt Alfonso.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A group of Syrian artists, who have taken shelter in Turkey, have come together in a three-floor art center on the Asian side of Istanbul to produce together, İpek Yezdani of the Hürriyet Daily News reports.

  Syrian photographer Omar Beraktar founded the "Arthere İstanbul" in the Yeldeğirmeni neighborhood of Istanbul's Kadıköy, a spot known for its increasing number of art galleries, mural artwork and workshops.

  The center hosts a painting and sculpture workshop, a cafe, study desks and a camera obscura. , Some of the work produced at the center have already found their way to Europe, according to artists.

  52-year-old Beraktar said they would never be allowed to open an art center like this in Syria.

  "Our principal mission is to introduce the Syrian artists to Turkish people. Here, we do everything for the sake of art," he said.

  Like many others, Beraktar's art center is also facing financial difficulties since their sole source of income remains as the artworks they sell.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Antiocheia Ad Cragum in Turkey's southern province of Antalya's Gazipaşa district have unearthed ceramic pottery pieces with the seal "ANT", reports the Doğan News Agency

  Located in the Güney neighborhood, the ancient city dates 2,000 years back to the Roman and Byzantine eras. Excavations have been carried out in the city under the leadership of Professor Michael Hoff from Nebraska University.

  Hoff said works have been carried out since 2005 with an international team, adding that they focused on the temple structure in the first season and works there have almost been finished.

  He said they are now working on the restoration projects, adding, "We also unearthed the parliament building in the city. It will be completely excavated this year. Since it is a pretty big complex, works have been ongoing there for a few years and it will last a few more years. The ancient city is pretty big; it covers an area of some 75 acres. This is why I guess excavations here will last more than 300 years with current technology. But we can see exciting discoveries every year."

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Archaeological excavations that have been initiated in the ancient city of Uzuncaburç in Turkey's southern province of Mersin's Silifke district are expected to unearth important artifacts. Uzuncaburç is a significant tourism center in the city.

  Silifke district governor Şevket Cinbir has recently visited the excavation field with the Silifke Museum Director Nilgün Yılmazer.

  Stating that about 20 drilling excavations and two rescue excavations were carried out this year, Ms. Yılmazer also said they had started the archaeological excavation preservation and restoration project in Uzuncaburç with the participation of Associate Professor Ümit Aydınoğlu of the archaeology department at Mersin University.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A 30-foot mosaic , found by a farmer in Turkey's southeastern province of Adıyaman's Besni district, will be taken to the Gaziantep Museum, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The mosaic dates back to the fifth century A.D. of the Roman era.

  A four-line Greek writing in the mosaic has been translated by Professor Cumhur Tanrıver into Turkish. It says, "this holy church was decorated with mosaics when the very holy Maranas came here". The name indicates that there was a Syrian church at the location.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Numerous granaries from 3,500 years ago have been unearthed in Turkey's western province of Manisa, reports the Hürriyet Daily News. The granaries were found in the 20-acre Gölmarmara Kaymakçı settlement dating back to the early Bronze Age.

  Excavations have been continuing in Gölmarmara Kaymakçı, the largest early Bronze Age settlement in the Gediz Delta, since 2014.

  Head of the Kaymakçı Archaeology project excavations, Koç University Archaeology and History of Art Department academic Associate Professor Chris Roosevelt and deputy head of excavations, Yaşar University academic Sinan Ünlüsoy provided information about the excavations.

  "This is a very big early Bronze Age settlement. There is one more famous Bronze Age settlement in Turkey, which is the ancient city of Troy. Gölmarmara Kaymakçı is four times bigger than Troy. This is the largest settlement unearthed in the Gediz Delta."

  In the granaries archaeologists found barley, wheat and grape seeds. It shows that grape cultivation dates back to 3500 years ago in this area.

  Click to see the area on a map  >> here <<

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Road construction work in Turkey's western province of Uşak has unearthed a 2,000 year-old necropolis (graveyard) from the Roman era, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Because there were no skeletons in any of the 33 graves in the necropolis, archaeologists believe the local people built symbolic graves for their relatives who had lost their lives during war.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Officials have been spending last-minute efforts as the Göbeklitepe archeological site in Turkey's southeast, one of the leading historic values of the country, ahead of a delegation visit in September, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The site was included in UNESCO's temporary list five years ago. It is now getting ready to be nominated for UNESCO's World Heritage list in 2018.

  Göbeklitepe was first found by researchers from the Istanbul and Chicago universities during a field survey in 1963 and is near Şanlıurfa's Örencik neighborhood 11 miles away from the city center.

  The Göbeklitepe site is composed of approximately 20 round and oval structures. There are two T-shaped free-standing pillars with a length of 15 feet. Monumental structures of Göbeklitepe were deliberately covered with earth by the people of the Neolithic period who built them.

  Archaeologists estimate that the site was built 11,000 years ago, predating Britain's Stonehenge by some 6000 years.

Smithsonian article >> here <<  Read more at >> here <<


EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 3.53


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey:        88/59 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean:    99/79 Mostly Sunny
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 88/72 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean:             95/73 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea:        79/72 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey:       86/54 Partly Cloudy
See water temperatures:
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         78
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ      78
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir          79
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 85
★ A heavy rainfall that hit Istanbul, causing fires and flash floods to occur across the city in the evening hours of July 27 has triggered debates over insufficiency of Istanbul's infrastructures.

  Main opposition Republican People's Party lawmakers Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Barış Yarkadaş submitted a motion in parliament on what they called a "disaster" in Istanbul on July 28. "The ruling Justice and Development Party and especially the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's disregard for heavy rain warnings beforehand and not taking any effective, continuous, and concrete precautions suspended life in Istanbul first on July 18 and immediately thereafter on July 27. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality ignoring infrastructure problems should not be ignored by the public," the motion said.

  Transportation in the city also came to a near halt following the heavy rainfall.

  A fire broke out in the Haydarpaşa port when a crane toppled on an oil tanker, causing explosions. The fire was taken under control after firefighters arrived at the scene.

  Separately, the wall of a cemetery in the Kurtuluş neighborhood of the Şişli district collapsed and there were reports of injured people at the scene.

  Another fire also broke out in the Kağıthane district when a lightning struck a store.



★ UEFA Europe League:

★ The Turkish team Fenerbahçe beat Austria's Sturm Graz soccer team 2 to 1 in Austria.

  The two teams will have another match in Istanbul on August 3.

UEFA champions league:

★ The Turkish team Başakşehir had a 3 to 3 draw with a Belgian team Club Brugge on July 26 in Belgium. The two teams will meet for another game in Istanbul on August 2.


★ In the Deaflympics taken place in Turkey's Samsun, the Turkish team is in fourth place with the medal count. Russia is in the first place.

  Read more at >> here <<


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


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