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Edited by Fuad Tokad
Turkey's President Erdoğan in Ankara, November 24, 2017
★ The Hürriyet Daily News reported that President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the phone on November 24 only days after a Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria.
After the talk, Turkey's foreign affairs minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters that President Trump agreed to stop sending weapons to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).
Mr. Trump was quoted as saying, "this nonsense should have ended a long time ago".
Turkey has been slamming the U.S. for providing around 4,000 truckloads of weapons to the YPG in the fight against the ISIL. Mr. Erdoğan questioned why the U.S. has continued to supply them with weapons if the war against ISIL was about to be won.
Turkey considers YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party of the rebel Turkish Kurds.
The Kurdistan Workers Party is considered to be a terrorist organization by the US and the European Union.
During the conversation, Mr. Erdoğan once again urged for the need to completely resolve the visa crisis between the two allies, according to Mr. Çavuşoğlu. Since the arrest of Turkish staff of the U.S. consulates, U.S. stopped issuing visas to Turks who wish to travel to U.S. Turkey has reciprocated by stopping issuing visas to the Americans.
★ Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said on November 25 in Turkey's Northwestern province of Balıkesir that Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet regularly to discuss the Syrian crisis, as he commented on a recent trilateral meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in Russian Federation, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.
He said the positive effects of the decisions taken will hopefully be seen on the ground.
Messrs. Erdoğan, Rouhani and Putin convened on November 22 for a key summit to discuss the political future of Syria, amid hope that the civil war is coming to an end and victory against jihadist groups is imminent.
The leaders agreed on the necessity of a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
★ In Balıkesir, Mr. Erdoğan also said that the attack in Egypt shows "the un-Islamic face" of the ISIL.
At least 305 people were killed and scores injured when attackers bombed a mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed in North Sinai and then opened fire on fleeing worshipers on November 25.
★ The head of a Turkish media group was arrested late on November 24 in the Turkish capital Ankara for his alleged involvement in the assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov.
Guru Media Broadcast Group Chairman Hayreddin Aydınbaş was arrested on charges of manslaughter as part of an investigation carried out by Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.
Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a Turkish riot police officer, shot dead Ambassador Karlov late on December 19, 2016, as he was delivering a speech for a photography exhibition at an arts center in the Turkish capital Ankara. The assailant was also shot dead by police officers at the scene of the incident.
★ In related news, the Russian Embassy in Ankara erected a monument for the late Ambassador Andrey Karlov.
"My husband and I have loved the Turkish people and culture. It's very meaningful to gather here today because these kinds of tragedies should not repeat," said Marina Karlova, the spouse of the slain ambassador, during the opening ceremony on November 24, reported Hürriyet Daily News.
★ Hürriyet Daily News reported that Turkey's national postal authority PTT will open post office branches in the towns of al-Bab and Çobanbey (al-Rai in Arabic) in the Aleppo province of northeastern Syria.
Postal, banking and logistics services will be provided once the General Directorate of Post and Telegraph Organization opens branches in both towns.
Last month, the PTT opened a branch office in the Syrian city of Jarabulus, across the border from Turkey's Gaziantep province. An official inauguration ceremony for the branch has yet to be carried out.
Turkey currently undertakes a number of educational, healthcare and security services in parts of northern Syria secured as part of a Turkish military operation earlier this year.
★ The bodies of two people found washed ashore on the Greek island of Lesbos have been identified as suspects attempting to flee Turkey following an investigation into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, the followers of cleric Gülen, accused of being behind the July 2016 coup attempt.
Three children were also found drowned alongside the two suspects.
The bodies are revealed to have belonged to a family of five identified as father Hüseyin Maden, 40, a physics teacher, and his wife Nur Maden, 36, a kindergarten teacher.
The two were dismissed from their jobs in a state of emergency decree issued after the failed coup attempt and were accused of being members of a "terror organization" as a part of the investigation.
Turkey accuses cleric Gülen and his followers of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of various state institutions, particularly the military, the police and the judiciary.
Cleric Gülen has been living in self-imposed exile in
Pennsylvania since 1999.
★ The newly established right-wing İYİ (Good) Party Deputy Chair Ümit Özdağ has drawn ire after posting on Twitter that "27.7 percent of Syrian refugees in Turkey are obese."
At the same time 1.25 million Turkish citizens are suffering below the hunger limit, he added.
He stated that 4.5 percent of Turkey's population is now made up of people of Syrian-origin, and the number of Syrians in Istanbul is now higher than general population in 38 provinces across the country.
Mr. Özdağ was condemned as delving into "racism" and "discrimination."
Meanwhile, IYI Party leader Ms. Meral Akşener has "I want Syrian people to return to their homes, but this does not mean simply dismissing them. I am also the child of a migrant family. A way should be found for the return of Syrian people to their country within a humanitarian framework," Ms. Akşener said.
Speaking on national radio station BEST FM, she also slammed the government's Syria policy, saying "personal friendships must not determine foreign policy."
"Four million Syrian refugees are in Turkey while Canada, for example, hosts just 50,000 ... These people have been displaced, but their children in Turkey could become criminals in 10 years because the government does not have an approach that can integrate four million people," Ms. Akşener said.
★ The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) operated a so-called a religious school in the Turkish capital Ankara, according to an indictment against alleged members of the jihadist group.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office prepared the indictment into 16 suspects, of whom six are under arrest and one is a fugitive, over "being members of an armed terrorist organization" after it was revealed that ISIL used the office of the
Teethed Magazine, located in the city's Etimesgut district, to "educate" 60 children.
According to the 82-page indictment, the existence of the now-closed religious school was determined while authorities were carrying out an investigation on ISIL activities in Ankara.
★ The NATO chief has reassured Turkey that the incident involving a civilian Norwegian official who depicted Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as an "enemy collaborator" during an exercise in Norway would not happen again.
Last week, Turkey withdrew its 40 soldiers from NATO's Trident Javelin exercise in Norway after a civilian Norwegian official depicted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as an "enemy collaborator".
★ Turkey's national airline plans to create almost 7,000 jobs in 2018 and transport 100 million passengers annually once Istanbul's third airport opens, Turkish Airlines Chair İlker Aycı said on November 24 to state-run Anatolia News agency.
Mr. Aycı said the company would start flying to new destinations next year, insisting that opening Istanbul's new airport would increase its capacity. He added that narrow-body airplanes could reach capitals of 60 countries from Istanbul.
With the opening of Istanbul's third airport, the company's aim is to make Turkish Cargo one of the top five cargo companies in the world by 2023, Mr. Aycı said.
The total number of passengers carried by Turkish Airlines rose by 7.5 percent to 57.8 between January and October, compared to the same period last year, the airline stated on November 13.
ARTS AND CULTURE
★ The National Public Radio Istanbul correspondent Peter Kenyon's 2015 report on the dying art of coppersmithing in Turkey was a rebroadcast again last week.
Coppersmiths in a number of countries face a common threat--an influx of cheap, mass-produced, nonstick cookware that doesn't have to be looked after a carefully as copper.
Kenyon has visited the black sea city of Trabzon and reported on the current situation of the coppersmiths.
Some coppersmiths said that their trade will never go away completely.
★ Archaeologist Çiğdem Köksal Schmidt has introduced the ancient settlement of Göbeklitepe at a conference in Turkey's Aegean resort of Bodrum, reports the Doğan News Agency. Çiğdem Köksal Schmidt is the wife of the late Professor Klaus Schmidt, who headed the excavations in Göbeklitepe and died in 2014.
Göbeklitepe is estimated to be first occupied 14,000 years ago. It is located in Turkey's southeastern province of Şanlıurfa. The conference drew many Bodrum residents.
Schmidt said Göbeklitepe was a settlement during an era when people had not yet begun agriculture and metal had still not been found yet.
Schmidt said that the most important circular-shaped temple in Göbeklitepe was the Temple T, adding, "There are mostly T-shaped obelisks with animal figures in these temples. The sculptures that were discovered reveal the magnificence of this civilization."
Schmidt said that people who lived in Göbeklitepe had stone and wood tools. Many publications about this ancient settlement caused thousands of people to flock to Göbeklitepe, Schmidt added
★ The Sustainable Living Film Festival will be celebrating its 10th year from
November 22 to 26 simultaneously in 10 cities across Turkey. The festival audience will be met with documentaries from Iran, Canada, the Netherlands, the Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Russia, Turkey, India, Spain, Israel, Palestine and the United Kingdom.
Organized by the Sustainable Living Collective, the festival has been held since 2008 for an improved understanding of the concept of sustainability and a better perception of systemic problems interacting with each other. It contributes to the creation of a new culture by sharing inspirational solutions.
Documentaries will be followed by musicians, performances or speakers, who will bridge the subjects of films to the local agenda.
All events are free of charge and open to the public.
★ The fame of a two-domed Ottoman bath in the western province of Balıkesir has gone beyond the borders of Turkey, reports the Anatolia News Agency.
The thermal water in the bath, built by the vizier of the Ottoman Sultan Fatih Sultan Mehmet, Zağnos Mehmet Paşa, in the 15th century, has been drawing many people for its physically and meditatively healing waters.
Visitors as far away as Germany, the Netherlands and France are now co-mingling with the locals.
The director of the hotel that hosts the baths
says that the architecture of the structure has never changed from its original.
★ A new exhibition at Plato Sanat, part of Ayvansaray University in Balat, hosts a selection of paintings by contemporary Syrian artists from the Kaleemat Collection, reports Hatice Utkan Özden of the Hürriyet Daily News. This time Turkey can discover Syria through art, without prejudice and without war, Ms. Özden writes.
"'A Place Close By' Contemporary Syrian Painting from the Kaleemat Collection" was curated by Professor Marcus Graf, who discovered Adnan Alahmad's Kaleemat Gallery at last year's Contemporary Istanbul. "They were participating in the fair with a selection of Syrian artists," the professor said.
He was fascinated with some of the works and he realized that as an art historian, he knew very little about art in his neighboring country of Syria.
As Graf learned, Mr. Alahmad is not only a gallery owner, but a collector, publisher and expert on art from the Middle East. They decided to do a show together at Plato Sanat about Syrian art.
Established in the early 1990s, the Kaleemat Collection is an extensive assemble of more than 2,500 works by many artists from the Middle East.
★ Turkish security forces seized an ancient Torah on
November 19 in the southern province of Muğla, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Written on gazelle leather with gilded lettering, the Torah is believed to date back at least 700 years.
The security forces handed the manuscript over to the Fethiye Museum for a detailed examination.
★ The 41st Contemporary and Modern Arts Auction in Istanbul, organized by Beyaz Müzayede on November 20 broke a new record.
One of the pioneers of Turkish contemporary art, Fahrelnissa Zeid's famous portrait "Feminity," which she made for her student Ufemia Rizk, found a buyer for $320,000 in local currency and became the highest-paid artwork at the auction.
The auction presented 221 artworks from 133 artists at the Orjin Art Center. Art lovers from Turkey and abroad showed great interest in this first auction of the season.
Another work by Zeid, "Bedouin," which was on the wall of her home in Jordan in the 1980s, was sold for $157,000, becoming the second highest-paid work at the auction.
One of our local Turkish artists, Canan Tolon's painting also sold for $71,000.
★ The traveling "Festival on Wheels" movies tour, organized by the Ankara Film Association, is set to hit the road on Dec. 1 for a two-week trip through Turkey.
This year's installment of the 23-year-old festival kicks off in the Turkish capital Ankara and then passes through the Black Sea provinces of Sinop and Kastamonu.
The Contemporary Arts Center and Goethe Institut in Ankara will welcome film aficionados from Dec. 1 to 7. Next stop is Sinop, from Dec. 8 to 11, where the Telvin Arts Academy will host the festival. And finally Kastamonu, from Dec. 12 and 14, where the festival enjoys the support of the Kastamonu University Film Club.
The World Film section, one of the festival's staples, is likely to woo audiences from all three cities, for it includes a selection of films never before screened in Turkey.
The section mainly consists of films that have received special mention at festivals around the world during the past year, combining work from countries as diverse as Iran, China, Mexico and the Palestinian Authority.
★ The Antalya Cultural and Natural Heritage Preservation Board has decided on the demolition of the Aspendos Arena, built in 2008 near the 2000-year-old Aspendos Antique Theater and located in the Belkıs neighborhood of the Serik district.
Turkey's internationally acclaimed dance troupe, the Fire of Anatolia, has been staging its shows in the 5,000 person capacity theater since then.
"Do they want to go down in history as the board that demolished a theater?" asked Fire of Anatolia general art director Mustafa
Afterwards Erdoğan contacted Turkey's culture and tourism minister and told reporters that the minister will fix the problem and keep the arena open.
★ French soprano Emma Shaplin will be on stage at Istanbul's Volkswagen Arena on Dec 1, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.
Shaplin will be accompanied on stage by Turkish clarinet virtuoso Hüsnü Şenlendirici.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 3.95
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey: 54/34 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean: 64/55 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey: 30/18 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 61/46 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean: 64/48 Thunderstorms
Trabzon, on the Black Sea: 55/41 Partly Cloudy
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 13 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey : 20 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey : 11 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey : 4 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey : 15 inches
* Results for week: 12
Beşiktaş - Akhisar Sp 0 - 0
Konya Sp - Antalya Sp 1 - 1
Bursa Sp - Göztepe 0 - 0
Başakşehir - G. Saray 5 - 1
G. Birliği - Kayseri Sp 1 - 2
Fenerbahçe - Sivas Sp 4 - 1
Trabzon Sp - Osmanlı Sp 4 - 3
Alanya Sp - Malatyaspor 1 - 0
Karabük Sp - Kasımpaşa 0 - 2
* In games played so far this weekend:
Osmanlı Sp - G. Birliği 2 - 0
Göztepe - Akhisar Sp 2 - 0
Malatyaspor - Beşiktaş 0 - 0
G. Saray - Alanya Sp 2 - 0
* Standing in the league as of week ending 12
1 - G. Saray 26
2 - Başakşehir 26
3 - Beşiktaş 22
4 - Kayseri Sp 22
5 - Fenerbahçe 20
6 - Sivas Sp 19
7 - Bursa Sp 18
8 - Göztepe 18
9 - Akhisar Sp 18
10 - Alanya Sp 17
11 - Trabzon Sp 16
12 - Kasımpaşa 15
13 - Malatyaspor 14
14 - Antalya Sp 13
15 - Konya Sp 11
16 - Osmanlı Sp 8
17 - Karabük Sp 8
18 - G. Birliği 8
★ Turkish champion Beşiktaş has reached the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in 31 years, after drawing 1-1 with Porto in Istanbul and wrapping up top spot of Group G on
The UEFA Champions League is an annual continental club football competition organized by the Union of European Soccer Associations and contested by top-division European clubs.