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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 30 December 2017

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 30 December 2017]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ The visa crisis between the US and Turkey has ended. The two countries mutually lifted all visa restrictions on Thursday after US got assurances from Turkey that no further US mission staff would be targeted.

  The United States had halted most visa services for Turkish citizens following the October arrest of a Turkish citizen employed at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul. Early in 2017 another Turkish citizen working for the US Consulate in Adana was also arrested.

  A marginal improvement in bilateral relations between US and Turkey with the resolution of the visa issue perhaps, but 2018 will bring tense relations, Cansu Çamlibel , a Hürriyet daily news commentator predicts. She says that there might be even sanctions against Turkey by the US.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The co-pilot of a helicopter, who flew seven other Turkish military officers to Greece a day after last year's failed coup in Turkey, has been granted asylum, Agence France-Presse reported on December 30, citing a Greek judicial source.

  The copilot has been denying that he was part of the coup attempt.

  The decision by Greek asylum authorities is a blow to Turkey, which has repeatedly requested for the co-pilot to be extradited, but the judges ruled that his human rights would be at risk, the agency reported.

  A ruling on the seven other military officers will be made in the coming weeks.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The U.S. arms manufacturing company Raytheon Co has been awarded a $634 million contract for Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles, the Pentagon said on December 28.

  It said the contract involves sales to Japan, South Korea, Morocco, Poland, Indonesia, Romania, Spain, Turkey, Bahrain and Qatar.

★ There is discord within the ranks of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party. Former president Abdullah Gül has been expressing his views about a controversial emergency decree, and the current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other party officials are criticizing him.

  Mr. Gül on December 30 said he will continue expressing his views, responding to the veiled criticism.

  Mr. Gül is a founding member of the Justice and Development Party.

  The emergency decree grants immunity to civilians "who take part in suppressing coup attempts" and "combating terror".

  Mr. Gül says he favors a revision of the phrasing of the degree to avoid possible problems stemming from the ambiguity of the law.

  Read more at >> here <<

  The opposition groups are also criticizing the article's reference to "subsequent events" as vaguely worded, saying it could be open to interpretations that provoke social chaos and violence. However, President Erdoğan is claiming that they are siding with the terrorists.

  Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also said on December 27 that the decree law will not be changed, while insisting that it will only apply to those who took part in opposing the military coup attempt on July 15 and 16 in 2016.

★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a visit to Chad this week. After his visit Chad renamed the street where the US Embassy is located in the capital N'djamena Istanbul Street, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Mr. Erdoğan's one-day visit earlier this week was part of a three-nation Africa tour that included Sudan and Tunisia.

  Another interesting development from the trip: Mr. Erdoğan said on December 25 that his Sudanese counterpart agreed to temporarily hand over Suakin Island to Turkey for reconstruction purposes in a bid to improve pilgrimage visits from the country to Saudi Arabia.

  Suakin, one of the oldest seaports in Africa, was used by African Muslims who set out for pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

  Ottomans used the port city to secure Hejaz province - present-day western Saudi Arabia - from attackers using the Red Sea front.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkey's prominent opposition daily Cumhuriyet staff Emre İper was released on December 29 from jail after his arrest 267 days ago, reports the Hürriyet Daily News. He was being accused of using a secret communication app developed for the followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen.

  Fethullah Gülen and his followers are being accused of staging last year's failed coup.

  Anybody using the app is being arrested in Turkey for being a follower of Fethullah Gülen.

  According to Reuters, Turkish authorities have begun freeing other suspects as well. The authorities have found that thousands had been unwittingly redirected to the app. So far, authorities have identified 215,000 users of the app and started investigating 23,000 of them.

  They think up to 11,000 of these may have been erroneously identified as Gülenists.

  Read more at >> here <<

  The dismissal of university students has led to protests across Turkey

★ In related news, BBC correspondent Mark Lowen reported on December 28 that crackdown in Turkey is pushing intellectuals out and creating a major brain drain.

  In addition to intellectuals, there is an exodus from the country's secular side as the grip of religious nationalism grows tighter, Mark Lowen writes.

  So far Britain has received 17,000 Turks, Germany 7000 and France 5000.

  Mark Lowen concludes his reporting by saying that "in years to come, Turkey will count the cost of losing so many".

  Read more at >> here <<

★ In a telephone conversation on December 29, Turkey's president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Pope Francis both hailed last week's U.N. resolution rejecting the U.S.'s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, according to sources from the presidency, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The pontiff and Erdoğan both underlined the significance of mutual efforts to protect the status quo of Jerusalem, which is sacred to Islam, Christianity and Judaism, the sources said.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A credit agreement between Turkey and Russia over the procurement of the S-400 air defense systems is coming into effect. Four batteries of the missiles, for $2.5 billion, are expected to be delivered to Turkey by 2020.

  The Hürriyet Daily News commentator Murat Yetkin says that Turkey opted for the Russian system because US, which is Turkey's NATO ally, won't be able to sell any Patriot air defense systems. The U.S. Congress is not likely to give permission for the sale.

  Yetkin says that for years the Congress did not give permission for the sale of only two armed drones to Turkey for use in the fight against the rebel Kurdistan workers party.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Ahead of the new year celebrations, Reuters writes that Turkey will more than double the number of police officers on duty in Istanbul to almost 40,000. There is also a ban on public celebrations in key districts for security reasons. Last year a gunman killed 39 people in a nightclub in Istanbul.

  Also, police detained hundreds of people whom they say are affiliated with ISIS.

★ Headlines in the economy and business:

  - Turkey's stock exchange reached its highest ever close on the last working day of 2017.

  - A Turkish made submarine rescue ship built in the Istanbul shipyard was delivered to the Turkish Navy on December 29 with an official ceremony.

  - Turkey experienced the worst drought in 44 years in 2017, due to a substantial decrease in rain levels, Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Prof. Dr. Veysel Eroğlu said on December 28.

  - Turkey increased the minimum wage by 14% for 2017. The official inflation rate in Turkey is 13.5%.

  - Turkey's economic confidence index fell 3 percent to 95.0 points in December, the Turkish Statistics Institute said on Thursday, retreating further from a five-year high in August.


★ A golden crown stolen from the burial chamber of Hecatomnus in Turkey's Aegean town of Milas and later smuggled to Scotland is set to return to Turkey, Özgen Acar of the Hürriyet Daily News reports. Authorities think that the tomb was robbed in 2008 and robbers stole the golden crown. Two years later the crown was found in Scotland. The crown is thought to date back to 392 B.C.

  Hecatomnus is the father of Mausolus. The burial structure built for the son is known as "Mausoleum of Halicarnassus", one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Ömer Erbil of the Hürriyet Daily News reports that Istanbul's Topkapı Palace has been entirely restored. The cracks in the Fatih Mansion and the garden of the palace had revealed the need for the comprehensive restoration, the first restoration in the history of the palace.

  In total 27 sections of the palace have undergone restoration, adding to an area of almost 4,000,000 sqft.

  The restoration cost $80 million in local currency.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A historical structure has been unearthed during infrastructure works carried out in Turkey's central Anatolian province of Çorum's İskilip district. Works have been ongoing to bring the Ottoman-era structure to light.

  The structure is thought to be a shop. Archaeologists are working to excavate the structure and put a glass enclosure over it to protect it from the elements.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Karaburç Fort and its historic walls in Turkey's northwestern province of Kocaeli's İzmit district, will undergo restoration, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  İzmit municipality said in a statement that the fort was one of the rarest structures that had traces of three civilizations: Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman

  The structure's inner walls date back to the 12th century and the outer walls date back to the first half of the 13th century.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The restoration of another Fort in Sultanbeyli, in the Istanbul province is also almost finished, reports the Anatolia News Agency. The Aydos will be open to visitors in 2018.

  The fort is believed to have been built in the 11th and 12th centuries in the Eastern Roman era.

★ The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts introduced an encouragement award in 2015 to support outstanding translations of literary works, including but not limited to poetry, short stories and novels from other languages to the Turkish language.

  Named after Turkey's first culture minister Dr. Talat Sait Halman, this year the award went to Fuat Sevimay for his outstanding translation of the Finnegans Wake, a 1939 novel by James Joyce .

  More than 50 translations competed for the prize.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ A pithos estimated to be 2000 years old has been unearthed in a yard in Turkey's Eastern province of Malatya's Doğanşehir district, reports the Anatolia News Agency. The pithos is 4 1/2 feet high and 3 feet wide.

  Pithos is a large earthenware storage container used in the ancient times for bulk storage. They were comparable to the drums, barrels and casks of recent times.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ İbrahim Kuşlu, an artist in Turkey's Northwestern province of Bursa, is making exact replicas of Seljuk era tiles in his workshop, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Seljuks are a clan of Turks who emerged in late 900s and set up the Seljuk Empire which lasted until early 1300s.

  Kuşlu only makes the tiles when he has firm orders. His customers approach him with photographs from books or museums with tiles that they would like to have reproduced. And he makes exact copies of the tiles.

  Some of the original ancient tiles smuggled out of Turkey fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars by collectors. The new ones are also expensive, a 10" x 10" tile could cost hundreds of dollars.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Speaking of smuggled tiles, a panel of tiles in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia Museum were smuggled to France in the 1890s and replaced with imitations, according to museum director Hayrullah Cengiz, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  "These tiles were taken to France for restoration in the 1890s by the Frenchman Albert Dorigny, who came to the Ottoman Empire as a dentist. But they have not returned. Instead, imitation tiles had been made in France and had been mounted in place of the original. The original tiles are on the left side. You can see the difference between the two panels. These tiles are the most perfect example of 16th century tiles," said Cengiz, regarding the 60 tiles on the right side of a tomb where they were located.

  The original tiles had been exhibited in the "Islamic Arts" section of the Louvre Museum but removed due to complaints, Cengiz claimed.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The internationally acclaimed Turkish composer and pianist Fazıl Say performed on stage in two concerts on December 23 at Istanbul's Volkswagen Arena, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Since tickets for the first concert had been sold out months ago, a second concert had been organized for the same day, in response to the great interest the event had received. Both concerts were attended by a total of around 10,000 people.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Another internationally acclaimed Turkish piano virtuoso, Gülsin Onay, was in the news. The Hürriyet Daily News carried a lengthy article about the artist's accomplishments and life. The article says that she traveled to 80 countries in five continents so far for concerts.

  Ms. Onay gave her first concert at the age of six after which her talent was discovered within a short time.

  She then received a special education as part of the law for gifted and talented children.

  In her concerts she has been accompanied by the world's best orchestras.

  She says she has been impressed by one of her concerts in Mongolia. "People had left their tents to come listen to me", she said. Similar events took place in Ethiopia and Kenya.

★ "Fiddler on the Roof", based on the "Tevye and his Daughters" tale written in the Yiddish language and one of the shows running on Broadway, will make its premiere at Istanbul's Zorlu PSM on Jan 2, 2018, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The show will continue on Jan 3, 25 and 26.

★ The first children's opera in Turkey, "The Dream of Magic Flute Tamino" was staged at the Kadıköy Süreyya Opera on December 24, captivating many who watched the performance, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The opera is scheduled to be back in the next few months again.

★ Instagram revealed that cities like New York, London, Paris and Istanbul were among the most geo-tagged cities in 2017, the Guardian reports.

  Istanbul was the number ninth in the list.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ An exhibition aiming to promote North Korean artists has been opened in Istanbul's Şişli district, Doğan News Agency reported on December 27.

  The exhibition was attended by North Korean Consul General Jang Jong Su.

  "This is the first exhibition we co-organized with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," said Tulga Ozan, owner of the Before the World Changes travel agency.

  Read more at >> here <<


EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 3.80


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey:        43/36 Rainy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean:    61/48 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey:       41/32 Sleet
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 50/41 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean:             54/45 Showers
Trabzon, on the Black Sea:        63/50 Rainy	
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 21 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 16 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 20 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 7 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 15 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 33 inches	



★ Premiere League

The league is in recess.


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

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