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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 07 October 2017

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 07 October 2017]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ The Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry on October 5 denied claims made by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara that a Turkish employee of its consulate general in Istanbul was detained by Turkish authorities.

  A Turkish national, identified only by his initials M. T., was remanded in custody over terror charges by an Istanbul court on October 4.

  The U.S. Mission to Turkey issued a statement, saying the person was a "local employee" of its Istanbul consulate office.

  M.T. was alleged to have links with the so-called Fethullahist Terrorist Organization suspects, including police commissioners and former public prosecutor Zekeriya Öz, a fugitive who had been accused of "forming an organization to commit crime" and "attempting to overthrow the government by use of force" in a plot masterminded by the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, a judicial source said on October 5.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Hürriyet Daily News correspondent Barçın Yinanç participated in a journalists meeting with the US ambassador to Turkey.

  Some in the Turkish government are motivated by "vengeance rather than justice," departing U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass has said in the meeting, voicing concern at coverage in pro-government media outlets of the arrest of a Turkish national working in the Istanbul consulate.

  "I am deeply disturbed that some people in the Turkish government prefer to try this case through media outlets rather than properly pursuing the case in a court of law before a judge. That does not strike me as pursuing justice, it seems to me more a pursuit of vengeance," Bass told reporters in Istanbul on October 6.

  As he prepares to leave the Turkish capital's Ankara for his next assignment in Afghanistan, Bass met with a group of journalists who he identified as representatives of the "serious media." There were no representatives from the pro-government media journalists. In fact, those who were invited first were called and asked not to come to the meeting.

  The issue of justice dominated the press conference, demonstrating that despite many areas of cooperation on regional issues, judicial issues continue to dog relations between Ankara and Washington. As a result, Bass was questioned several times on the Turkish government's conviction that the U.S. has not provided enough support to Turkey in its pursuit of members of the Gülen movement believed to be behind the coup attempt, Barçın Yinanç wrote.

  Bass stressed that his government supports Turkey's efforts to bring those responsible for the coup attempt to justice.

  The outgoing ambassador also touched on the struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

  "It is a testament to the strong cooperation and work behind the scenes that ISIL has not been able to conduct any significant attack for the last nine months in Turkey, not because it has decided not to do so but because it has been unable to do so," Bass said.

  The ambassador admitted that there are frictions in the perspective on how to deal with regional problems between Turkey and the US.

  The military support given by the U.S. to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), believed by Turkey to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), is perhaps the key point of friction at present. Bass described this support as "limited and tactical" and said Washington was sensitive of the fact that efforts to fight ISIL do not strengthen the Kurdistan Workers' Party.

  "I have yet to see any evidence that any U.S.-manufactured weapons found in the hands of the Kurdistan Workers' Party have come from Syria or were transferred by any of the militants of the proxies fighting ISIL in Syria," he said.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Voice of America also had an article on the US ambassador's meeting with the journalists. The article also mentioned that Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is stirring xenophobic fears and standing up to Washington to get more nationalist voters on his side in the 2019 presidential elections.

  Mr. Erdoğan also warned recently of what he said was the danger of Turkish students studying overseas and returning as spies. The fear of foreign spies, especially from Turkey's Western allies, is part of the national psyche.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ There were rumors in the Turkish press this week that the metropolitan mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara has been asked to resign from his post by President Erdoğan.

  Recently, the Metropolitan Mayor of Istanbul resigned under pressure from the ruling Justice and Development Party that Mr. Erdoğan belongs to.

  The rumors subsided after the mayor met with the president. However, some say that mayor asked for some time from the president to stay in office.

  Candidates for mayors in Turkey are fielded by political parties, or in some cases they are independents. They are then chosen by popular vote.

★ Other headlines in the news this week were:

  - VOA and HDN: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for talks on bilateral relations and international issues. Ahead of his meeting president Maduro's said that "a new power is being born" about Turkey. Mr. Maduro was on a tour of Europe.

  - VOA: Turkey's armed forces chief, General Hulusi Akar, was in Tehran for talks with Iran's political and military leadership, including President Hassan Rouhani. His visit preceded President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit, on Wednesday, and comes as analysts suggest the use and threat of military force are increasingly becoming part of Turkish foreign policy.

  - HDN: Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the start of an operation in Syria's jihadist-controlled Idlib, as increased military movement is being observed near the southern Turkish border.

  - HDN: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that people demand change and renovation from the ruling Justice and Development Party, as he addressed his party members during a convention in the western province of Afyonkarahisar.

  - HDN: Members of the European Parliament, during a plenary sitting on October 4, said that Turkey is "abusing" the International Criminal Police Organization's (Interpol) Red Notices to repress freedom of expression or to persecute members of the political opposition beyond its borders. Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkey saw a massive increase of 142 percent in its crude oil imports from Iran in the first seven months of 2017, compared to the same period last year, according to data gathered from the Turkish energy watchdog's monthly report published in late September.

  Iran also signaled a rise in its gas exports to Turkey on October 4 during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Tehran.

  Iraq had been the biggest crude oil exporter to Turkey in the last three years, but in the January to July 2017 period, Iraq's crude oil exports to Turkey decreased by 20.5 percent from 5.4 million tons to 4.3 million tons.

★ The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has said it granted a seven-year loan of approximately $100 million to Tüpraş, Turkey's oil refiner and largest industrial company.

  The grant will support Tüpraş's investment plans concerning environmental upgrades, improvement in efficiency, and research and development activities, the IFC said in a statement on October 4.

  Tüpraş will install new sulfur recovery units in İzmit, İzmir and Kırıkkale refineries to optimize its crude oil processing capability and improve sulfur emissions through this loan, it added.

  "With additional sulfur recovery units we will be ready to support the maritime industry in its efforts to change into low sulfur marine fuel before the regulation change planned for 2020." Tüpraş CFO Doğan Korkmaz stated.

  The investment will support Tüpraş to ensure value added, resource efficient local refining capacity for Turkey, where demand for refined products grew above 2.5 percent per year over the last 20 years, according to the statement.

  Turkey is the second-largest country exposure for the IFC globally. In line with the World Bank Group Turkey Country Partnership Strategy for fiscal years 2012 to 2017, the IFC has invested nearly $5 billion in private sector projects.

  Koc Holding owns 75% of Tüpraş. Koc Holding is the largest industrial conglomerate in Turkey and Turkey's only entry on the Fortune Global 500 list.

★ Turkey's core inflation, which excludes energy, food and other volatile prices, rose to 10.98 percent year-on-year in September, the highest level since February 2004, data from the Turkish Statistical Institute showed on October 3

★ Turkey is looking to create more jobs during the years 2018-2020, the Finance Ministry said on October 5.

  During this period, Turkey will also focus on maintaining macro-economic stability, reducing inflation and improving income inequality.

  The ministry said it will increase budgeted spending by 18 percent to $193.4 billion next year, $210 billion in 2019 and $228.4 billion in 2020.

  Spending on civil servants will account for one of the biggest slices of the pie at $51 billion next year.


★ Prior to the archeological excavations planned to start next year in the ancient city of Satala located in Turkey's Black Sea province of Gümüşhane, geophysics work has been initiated in order to collect data on the site. Satala was built as a military headquarter during the Roman Empire.

  The head of the excavation and Bartın University Archeology Department Faculty Member Assistant Professor Şahin Yıldırım, told state-run Anatolia News Agency ancient Satala was one of the most important cities of the Roman Empire in the east.

  Yıldırım said the Euphrates River made the east border of the Roman Empire and four big legions (military headquarters) were situated along the river.

  One of these legions was the 15th Apollon legion in ancient Satala. The legion fortresses were built to protect the city from attack. They were military institutions with a first and second army structure .

  Yıldırım said the legions were self-sufficient regarding all their needs.

  Yıldırım drew attention to the similarities between Satala and Zeugma and said both of the ancient cities were military garrison cities located on trade roads. Zeugma is another ancient city in southeastern Turkey that revealed exquisite villas and mosaics.

  "Zeugma and Satala share the same fortune. Both of them were destroyed in a night raid by the Sasanians of Iran in 200s and afterwards these legions were erased from the stage of history," he said.

  Yıldırım said these cities were where the nobles, wealthy tradesmen and the soldiers in Rome lived. He said he expects artifacts similar to that of Zeugma to be revealed in the excavations in Satala.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ "Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas," one of the 15 films shortlisted by the European Film Academy for the Best Documentary 2017 award, will be the opening film at this year's Bozcaada International Ecological Documentary Film Festival.

  Bozcaada, Turkey's third biggest island situated on the Aegean Sea, near the western exit of the Dardanelles, will be hosting the fourth of the festival between October 11 and 15. The island has been 12 a frequent setting for several Turkish movies with its picturesque landscape

  The festival received a record application of 330 documentary films from 70 countries this year. Documentary films from China, Taiwan, Kenya, Austria, Croatia, Australia and Chile will be screened in Bozcaada.

  A point of attraction of the festival will again be the competition. "The Primordial Turtle" by Mexican director Eduardo Quiroz, "The Time of the Bees" by the Italian director Rossella Anitori as well as "The Invisible Frontier" by directors Nicolas Richat and Nico Muzi will be among the films participating in the competition.

  Interest shown by female directors is another attribute of the festival this year as is the case each year. Nejla Demirci's film "Confrontation" as well as Nesime Karateke's movie called "Other" will meet cinephiles in Bozcaada.

  The opening film "Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas" investigates foreign land-investments in Ethiopia and exposes their impact on people's lives.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A Roman-era sports facility has been unearthed at a construction site in the Central Anatolian province of Konya's Sarayönü district, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The finding emerged after a local in the district's Ladik neighborhood, known as a Laodicea city and an important center of the Roman era, applied to the local museum directorate after wanting to build a house on the land where the facility was unearthed.

  The museum directorate's experts conducted drilling works in the construction site, located on a region listed as a third degree archaeological site, unearthing a mosaic with geometrical shapes from the Roman period.

  Following 10 days of work, Konya Museums Directorate teams discovered a tomb with a mosaic, column and bases.

  Looking at the shape of the columns, archaeologists are saying that the structure is a sports facility.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Historic structures in Istanbul, a city riven by dangerous seismic fault-lines, are at risk due to the long-awaited earthquake and protective measures must be taken urgently, Italian expert Alessando Zanini has said.

  "We have no time to lose," said Zanini, the director of the Assorestauro Association, speaking at an international symposium held in cooperation with the General Directorate of Foundations at Istanbul Commerce University on October 5.

  "Istanbul is a city that is home to Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman heritage. But today, high levels of seismic activity are observed here. So we need to formulate and complete [protection] projects urgently," he added.

  Referring to recent earthquakes that have occurred in Italy, Zanini said they show the strength of historic Italian structures, which have been able to withstand strong quakes.

★ Read more at >> here <<

★ The 4th International Urban History Writers Congress, organized in collaboration with the Turkish Writers' Union, Esenler Municipality and the Turkish Municipalities' Union, will be held between October 13 and 15 at Istanbul's Yıldız Technical University's Davutpaşa campus, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  During the congress, previously organized in Ankara, Konya and Şanlıurfa, presentations on city-civilizations and city-history relations, interaction between the city and the human, society, economy, literature, art, geography and religion will be covered. The articles of the presentations are also published in a book.

  Intellectuals from Turkey and abroad will make their presentations in seven sessions at the congress.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ According to Salim Uzun of the Hürriyet daily news, an official in Turkey's southern province of Antalya claimed that the real tomb of St. Nicholas may have been found in the St. Nicholas church in Antalya's Demre district. The official thinks that the tomb may contain the remains of the saint.

  Archaeologists just discovered a previously unknown temple underneath the church.

  Due to the existing ancient flooring made of stones with decorations, it is difficult to go underneath the church, the official said.

  According to historical documents the church was demolished at one time and rebuilt. During the reconstruction, traders in Bari Italy took some bones to their town in 1087, which now they claim belongs to St. Nicholas.

  Read more at >> here <<

  The Bari-based St. Nicholas Center website: >> here <<

★ Rescue excavations carried out on the land and underwater ruins in the ancient port town of Amasra, now a district in Turkey's northern province of Bartın, are being planned to be exhibited soon, reports the Anatolia News Agency. According to archaeologists the town has a history dating back 5,000 years.

  Thought to have been built during the early Bronze Age, Amasra had its heyday around the 12th century B.C. under the rule of the princess Amastrist, as part the Phoenicians' colonial life built along the shores.

  The artifacts are from Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Genoese, Seljuk and Ottoman periods.

  Half of the structures in the ancient town are thought to be under areas that are today not settled. According to Amasra Museum director Baran Aydın, the buildings are of high quality and they range from theaters, marketplaces, baths, aqueducts, parliaments and places of worship.

  Aydın estimates that the population of the town was around 50,000 during the Roman era. It is now only 6000.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Paving work has started on the road leading to Göbeklitepe, the world's oldest settlement in Turkey's southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.

  The settlement is Turkey's nominee for the UNESCO World Heritage List at the 42nd session of the committee in 2018.

★ Archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Parion, the most important harbor city in the Hellenistic era, have uncovered 2,000 year-old toys in child tombs, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The ancient city is located close to the Kemer village in Turkey's northwestern province of Çanakkale's Biga district.

★ The "Commissioners' Exhibition," studying the architect-commissioner relationship through a number of buildings in Turkey, is currently being analyzed at SALT Galata.

  The exhibition studies the critical relationship between the architect and the commissioner through a number of buildings contracted by private and public entities in Ankara, Çanakkale, Denizli, İzmir, and Istanbul from the 1930s to 2010s.



★ Turkey's dreams of participating in 2018 World Cup were crushed after the team suffered a 3-0 defeat against Iceland at Yeni Eskişehir Stadium in Turkey's northwestern province of Eskişehir late on October 6.



★ Premiere League


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Republic Day

*** Join the Turkish Republic Day Celebrations

The 94th anniversary of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey will be celebrated in three places this year by the Turkish American Association of California.

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Saturday Oct 28 - Sultana, Menlo Park (Silicon Valley Group)
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*** For more music from Turkey and the Middle East tune to

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

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