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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 23 December 2017

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 23 December 2017]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on December 23 extended Christmas greetings to Christians in Turkey and across the world, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  In his message President Erdoğan said: "I congratulate our Christian citizens on the occasion of the Christmas.

  However, most Christians are Turkey celebrate Christmas on or near January 7 and some denominations on January 5.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Two Turkish-American men have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a brawl at the Turkish Embassy in Washington earlier this year, according to court documents, reports the Voice of America.

  Sinan Narin, 45, of Virginia and Eyup Yildirim, 50, of New Jersey "each pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of assault with significant bodily injury. The pleas, which are contingent upon the Court's approval, call for each defendant to be sentenced to agreed-upon terms of one year and one day of incarceration."

  Eighteen people, many of whom were members of the Turkish ambassador's security detail, were indicted for allegedly attacking protesters outside the ambassador's residence on May 16. All 18 were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison. Several faced additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

  The Turkish Embassy claimed that Erdogan's bodyguards were acting in "self-defense" during the incident, and that the protesters were affiliated with the Turkish left wing Kurdistan Workers' Party.

  The Kurdistan Workers Party has waged a three-decade long insurgency in southeast Turkey.

  Here is a video of the brawl: >> here <<

★ Turkish and German officials are investigating Peoples' Democratic Party Istanbul lawmaker Garo Paylan's claims over assassination plots targeting Turkish citizens living in Europe, especially Germany, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The lawmaker spoke in the Turkish Parliament on December 20 and said that the tipoff he received was saying that among the people that would be targeted were academics, journalists, politicians and opinion leaders from the opposition ranks.

★ Another threat to the Turks living abroad came from a pro-government journalists. Cem Küçük suggested the killing of fugitive suspects links to the followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen who are accused of being behind last year's failed coup attempt, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  On a TV broadcast, he cited the names of journalists of the pro-Gülen paper who fled abroad, and said that they should be assassinated.

  Küçük had previously suggested that torture could be used against Gülenist suspects.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Speaking of Germany, Germany's Deutsche Welle reports that a German journalists, a sociologist and a peace activist in jailed in Turkey for several months have been released. The peace activist and a sociologist both returned to Germany. The peace activists was very critical of the Turkish authorities. He said he was being held in Turkey as a hostage against Germany.

  The journalist is barred from leaving Turkey until her trial is over.

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

★ Turkish Police on December 22 detained some 15 high-ranking soldiers as part of an Ankara-based investigation into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, reports the Anatolia News Agency. Fethullahist Terrorist Organization is the name that the Turkish authorities give to the followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen.

  The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office had issued arrest warrants for a total of 16 soldiers earlier, including 12 active officers, in nine provinces across the country, targeting the network's "secret structure" within the Gendarmerie General Command.

★ A majority of Turkish youth are against the "other," according to research carried out by Bilgi University.

  A study titled "Understanding the Process of 'Othering' in Encounters: Discussing Empathy and Equality with Youth in Turkey" focuses on how youth perceive "the other" in Turkey.

  According to the study conducted between 2015 and 2017, with the support of the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey, 90 percent of youth said they would not want their daughters to marry someone "from the 'other' group."

  While 80 percent of youth said they would not want a neighbor from the "other," 84 percent said they would not want their children to be friends with children from the "other" group.

  A ratio of youth who have said they would not do business with members of the "other" group also stood at 84 percent. Eighty percent said they would not hire anyone from the "other."

  Experts said the results of the study demonstrated the high social distance between youth.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Reuters reports that the New York trial of a Turkish banker, Hakan Atilla, is continuing. The banker and his bank is accused of helping Iran evade U. S. sanctions.

  Jury has started deliberating in the trial but they have not reached a verdict yet. They will convene back on January 3.

  In the trial the Turkish Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab turned a government witness presumably after a plea deal. Another Turk, a former Turkish police officer was heard last week. This week the Turkish government announced that they were arresting the parents of the officer. Turkey also sent a note to the US that the officer is wanted in Turkey and they want his extradition.

  U. S. prosecutors charged nine people in the criminal case, only two are in U. S. custody: banker Mr. Atilla and gold trader Mr. Zarrab.

★ Turkish lawmakers approved the country's 2018 budget early on December 23 after a 12-day marathon session in the general assembly with 305 to 124 votes, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Highlights of the government's spending plans include raising spending on education to $35 billion, taking education expenditure to around 18 percent of all public spending.

  According to the finance minister, the total amount and the budget is $199 billion. In comparison, California budget for the 2017 - 18 fiscal year is about $123 billion, and the US budget is around $4.1 trillion.

★ Turkey has prepared a road map to fight climate change, setting goals for 2030, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  "Thus, we will prevent 246 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 and 1.92 billion tons in total between 2012 and 2030," Yıldırım said in his address to Istanbul Technical University graduates on December 21.

  "Our goal is to make Turkey a country that produces and exports technology for renewable energy," he said, adding that development and growth of a country is linked to how much energy it produces and consumes.

  Turkey has a potential to produce some 45 percent of its energy from renewable sources, the prime minister said.

★ Headlines in the economy:

  - Turkey's monthly consumer confidence index dropped slightly in December reaching the lowest this year.

  - Turkey's İşbank announced on December 21 that it has secured a $400 million loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China. Turkey's private lender Ziraat Bank also signed a $600-million agreement with the China Development Bank last week.

  - Turkey's crude steel production surged 12.7 percent to 34.2 million tons in the first 11 months of 2017, compared to the same period of 2016


★ Turkey's northwestern province of Çanakkale is set to become home to a special cat village where hundreds of felines will live, be taken care of, and available for adoption, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Çanakkale, which served as a battlefield during World War I, will host the feline village on an area spanning 6000 square feet in the neighborhood of Esenler, the governor's office said in a statement on December 21.

  The village features feeding and watering units for the cats, along with bungalow-style cat houses.

  Some 200 cats will live in the village when the project is complete, the statement said.

  The settlement will serve as a shelter for stray cats, especially ones that are sick, after they receive treatment from veterinarians at the village and get neutered.

★ Istanbul police on December 21 seized nearly 27,000 ancient artifacts and detained 13 suspects as part of an operation considered the biggest in Turkish history in Istanbul.

  Among the items recovered were a golden queen's crown with an inscription of the Hellenistic god, Helios, a bust dedicated to Alexander the Great's conquest of India and a statue of a goddess dating back to the Hittite era 3,000 years ago.

  It also Included Egyptian-origin statues and Phoenician-type teardrop vials.

  "The retrieved artifacts are... more valuable than the artifacts in the inventory of an average size museum," Istanbul police said in a statement.

★ Turkey's first and the world's largest paper museum, the Seka Paper Museum in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, has drawn crowds from both Turkey and abroad as it charts paper's "adventure" , reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Opened in November 2016, the museum has so far received 170,000 visitors from Turkey as well as countries as diverse as Germany, Russia, Iran, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Hungary.

  The museum is using the buildings of Seka an old paper factory built in 1936 and now closed.

  The museum is home to 115 showcases, including the manufacturing stages of paper, Kocaeli's history, the factory's history and social milieu.

  The Mehmet Ali Kağıtçı Memoir Room, dedicated to Turkey's first paper engineer and Seka's founder, displays a number of books and documents written by the factory's founder.

  The four-story museum also offers workshops for children to produce paper with traditional methods as well as water marbling workshops and exhibitions.

★ When two young curators embarked on a journey to bring young art school graduates' works to Istanbul, they did not have a clue about the flood of art that would end up on their doorstep. But lo and behold, some 1000 artworks arrived at BASE, the youngest platform for contemporary art in Turkey.

  Ali Kerem Bilge, the founding partner of BASE, and Derya Yücel, the curator of the first exhibition, are excited about the first gathering that will start on December 21 at the Galata Greek School in the Karaköy neighborhood.

  Deborah Harris of Armory Show, Gallery Voss Director Rudiger Voss, New York Academy of Arts' Peter Drake, Borusan CEO Agah Uğur and Tansa Mermerci Ekşioğlu of SPOT Projects are among the big names of the selection committee for the first exhibit.

  Some 108 artworks from 31 universities made it to the final exhibit that will take place until December 24. But the event is not limited to students' projects. There will be four full days of panel discussions and art classes. Alev Ebuzziya, Mehmet Güleryuz, Refik Anadol and Taner Ceylan will meet with young artists and modern art fans.

  For more, visit Read more at >> here <<

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The epic tale of "Tahir and Zühre," the legendary love story of the Sultan's daughter and the Vizier's son during the age of the Seljuks, was performed on December 19 at Zorlu PSM.

  It is the first musical in Turkey completely scripted and composed in the Broadway/West End format.

★ Turkish folk musician Selda Bağcan has been invited to Burning Man 2018, which has been held in the deserts of the U.S. state of Nevada for 31 years, hosting tens of thousands of visitors from around the world, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Ms. Bağcan, who turned 69 years old last weekend, has reportedly told close friends of her invitation to next year's Burning Man.

  Her song "My Saz is Played in the Lands of Sivas" was reportedly a surprise hit at this year's festival in Nevada.

  Ms. Bağcan is known in Turkey for her politically charged lyrics. Particularly prominent in the 1960s, she spent several months in jail for singing in Kurdish and using banned poems by Turkish writer Nazım Hikmet in song lyrics.

  Hear Selda's song at the Burning Man Festival on YouTube Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan has been awarded this year's Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women's Freedom, prominent French feminist magazine "Emma" has announced.

  The Simone de Beauvoir Prize is an international human rights prize awarded since 2008 to individuals or groups fighting for gender equality and opposing breaches of human rights. It is named after the French author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, particularly well-known for her 1949 women's rights treatise "The Second Sex."

  Previously, Ms. Erdoğan received Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize in the German city of Osnabrück on September 22.

  Ms. Erdoğan, who spent 132 days in jail after being arrested last summer, gave a speech before the ceremony, expressing her happiness at being in Germany for the ceremony but highlighting that "180 writers in Turkey are still in jail and unable to go abroad."

  Ms. Erdoğan was released in December 2016 but because her charges are ongoing she was given a travel ban, hindering her from participating in numerous award ceremonies abroad.

  The travel ban was lifted by a court order on June 22 and the authorities finally returned Ms. Erdoğan's passport more than two months after her travel ban was lifted, her lawyer stated on September 8.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The ancient city of Germanicia, which was discovered 10 years ago in Turkey's southern province of Kahramanmaraş, is progressing to become the Ephesus of the region, reports the Anatolia News Agency. Ephesus is another ancient city in the Western Turkey renowned for its architecture.

  Located in the Dulkadiroğlu neighborhood, the ancient city was discovered in 2007 during illegal excavations. Registration, expropriation, excavation and preservation works have still been ongoing to uncover the ancient city that covers an area of 345 acres.

  Social life in the era was featured by mosaics, which covered the floors in the late Roman era. The mosaics uncovered in different spots during excavations carried out by the Kahramanmaraş Museum Directorate, have entered the archaeology literature in the multi-language publication of the World Mosaic Unions and increased the importance of the region.

  Some of the mosaics found in the ancient city of Germanicia have been on display in their original places and some at the museum, according to Kahramanmaraş museum director Ahmet Denizhanoğulları.

  Last year's works unearthed very important ruins of graves and walls, said Denizhanoğulları.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkish director Ferzan Özpetek promoted his latest film, "Napoli Velata," at a press conference in Rome on December 18. The film will be released in Italy first and then in Turkey, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The press screening for Özpetek's 12th feature film, a romance-thriller, was made in the Space Cinema halls in Rome.

  Özpetek is compared to the U.K.-born American director Alfred Hitchcock, who comes to mind when thinking of thriller films.

  "They call me the 'Mediterranean Hitchcock,' I like it. " he said when asked about it being compared to Hitchcock.

  Özpetek spoke about the veil tradition in Naples, which is where the film's name derives from.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Mon Ange Karaköy, organized by the Istanbul-based Alla Tuna team, was one the city's addresses hosting a memorable Christmas party this festive season.

  The venue was lavishly decorated for the December 23 party.

  Doors opened at 10 P. M. and guest DJ Recaizade, known for his bombastic performances in Amsterdam and Istanbul's Beyoğlu district, sped up the night.

  DJ Recaizade played a special set of dance music reflecting the Christmas spirit alongside all-time hits. Drag Queen Cake Mosque and oriental-metal dancer Idylleve also performed on the night. In addition, two winners of the lottery got a Christmas basket as a gift.

★ Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on December 17 marked the 744th death anniversary of the renowned 13th century poet, scholar and Sufi mystic Rumi.

  "The flames of love that Mevlana ignited are still burning even though seven and half centuries have passed," Erdoğan said at a ceremony in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, where Rumi is buried.

  Rumi's epic Mesnevi poem, which contains more than 50,000 verses, is considered the most influential work in Sufism, and has been translated into 25 languages.

  He penned the poem on man's predicament in his search for God after losing his friend, the wandering dervish Shams Tabriz.

  Upon his death in 1273, Rumi's followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the "Sema" ceremony.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkish flutist and composer Burak Beşir on December 18 was granted an "Outstanding Achievement" award by the Global Music Awards for instrumental solo performance in his album "Passion."

  Currently based in Los Angeles, Mr. Beşir said young musicians should always follow their pursuits.

  Mr. Beşir's award-winning album "Passion" includes his own compositions along with a mixture of tangos and operas.

  "Passion" also presents Turkish and Anatolian melodies that Mr. Beşir collaborated on with Jim Walker, an American flutist who played more than 700 soundtracks of Hollywood movies.

  Emine Sarı, another Turkish musician, has been awarded bronze medal for lyrics of song "On My Own," which she wrote for American singer Nicky.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Two years of restoration works in the Sümela Monastery located in Turkey's northeastern province of Trabzon have unearthed a field in the upper right side of its northern roof, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The field, which is reached through a secret tunnel, is believed to have served as a temple or chapel for Christians.

  Works have been continuing in the area, readying it to open to visitors.

  One of the most important historic and touristic venues in Trabzon, the Sümela Monastery is located at the foot of the Karadağ Mount and is visited by 600,000 people every year. The monastery was closed two years ago to undergo restoration works.

  It has been reported that the field is home to unseen frescoes depicting heaven and hell as well as life and death. The chapel is set to become a new destination for those interested in the history of the site.

  Read more at >> here <<

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 3.82


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey:        36/28 Snow
Antalya, on the Mediterranean:    57/50 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey:       37/32 Snow
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 45/36 Sleet
Izmir, on the Aegean:             48/39 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea:        45/43 Light Rain	
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 22 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 16 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : No snow report
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 7 inches
Saklıkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey   : No snow report
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 11 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 28 inches	



Premiere League

* Results for week: 16
G. Birliği      -      Kasımpaşa       0 - 0
Alanya Sp       -      Sivas Sp        1 - 1
Trabzon Sp      -      Bursa Sp        1 - 0
Malatyaspor     -      G. Saray        2 - 1
Beşiktaş        -      Osmanlı Sp      5 - 1
Akhisar Sp      -      Kayseri Sp      0 - 2
Başakşehir      -      Antalya Sp      4 - 1
Fenerbahçe      -      Karabük Sp      2 - 0
Göztepe         -      Konya Sp        1 - 0
* In games played so far this weekend:
Antalya Sp      -      Alanya Sp       3 - 1
Sivas Sp        -      Beşiktaş        2 - 1
Konya Sp        -      Fenerbahçe      1 - 1
Bursa Sp        -      G. Birliği      1 - 1
* Standing in the league as of week ending 16
1 - Başakşehir 33
2 - Fenerbahçe 32
3 - G. Saray 32
4 - Beşiktaş 30
5 - Kayseri Sp 30
6 - Göztepe 30
7 - Trabzon Sp 28
8 - Bursa Sp 24
9 - Sivas Sp 23
10 - Malatyaspor 19
11 - Kasımpaşa 19
12 - Akhisar Sp 19
13 - Alanya Sp 18
14 - Konya Sp 14
15 - Osmanlı Sp 14
16 - Antalya Sp 14
17 - G. Birliği 13
18 - Karabük Sp 8


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

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