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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 13 January 2018

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 13 January 2018]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ Turkey and the U.S. have shifted their bilateral tensions from the visa crisis, which was resolved a short while ago after discussions, to a new platform: Travel warnings, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Turkey on Jan. 11 expressed its anger to the Ankara-based U.S. Charge d'affaires Philip Kosnett over the categorization of Turkey as a country with an "increased security risk" along with Sudan, Pakistan and Guatemala.

  The next day, the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Jan. 12 urged its citizens to reconsider their U.S. travel plans and take precautions against possible threats they might face in the U.S. in retaliation to a similar move by Washington.

  "We observe an increasing number of terror plots and acts of violence in the U.S.," the ministry said in a statement.

  Turkey's move comes after the U.S. on Jan. 11 urged its citizens to reconsider traveling to Turkey "due to terrorism and arbitrary detentions."

  Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters on Jan. 12. that Turkish capital Ankara is more secure than Washington D.C.

  While visiting the US, Turkey's foreign affairs minister Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in Los Angeles that Turkey and the U.S. shouldn't waste time on "unnecessary" actions not suiting an ally such as the new State Department warning on Turkey.

  "Xenophobia in America is alarming", he said, adding: "We saw how the U.S. administration, particularly the Trump administration, humiliated other countries."

  Read more at >> here <<

★ VOA's Dorian Jones reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Tuesday said a sanctions-busting court case in New York involving Turkish nationals is a "political coup attempt" against him and his government. With Erdoğan also threatening military action against the Kurdish militias, a key U.S. ally in Syria, relations between the NATO allies could deteriorate further.

  "Those who could not succeed in the military coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 [2016], are now searching for a different attempt in our country, he said. He cited the case in the U.S. as "the address of this political coup attempt."

  Turkey also accuses Washington of collaborating with U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen in the 2016 failed coup, Dorian Jones writes.

  The repercussions of that conviction could lead to a further ratcheting up of tensions, warned analyst Atilla Yeşilada of Global Source Partners.

  "I see an escalation of the crisis," he said. "The United States could threaten a wide range of sanctions; even the threat would cast a long shadow on the Turkish banking system. There would be immense difficulties for Turkish entities to borrow abroad."

  Turkey needs to borrow around $16 billion a month to cover its financial obligations.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Speaking of the US ally Syrian Kurds, Turkey's Anatolia News Agency reported that The Turkish military on Jan. 13 opened artillery fire on the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in northern Syria's Afrin.

  Also, Turkey on Jan. 10 summoned the charge d'affaires of the United States Embassy in Ankara, Philip Kosnett, over reports that U.S. troops started training the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.

  Turkey has long been condemning the U.S. for allying with the YPG, a group Ankara considers a terror organization because of its links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

★ Speaking of Syria, Turkey on Jan. 9 summoned the Russian and Iranian ambassadors to Ankara to express its disturbance over the Syrian army's ongoing military operations in the country's largest remaining rebel stronghold Idlib.

  The Turkish Foreign affairs Ministry told the Russian and Iranian envoys that the operations violate a three-way agreement that aims to deescalate tension in Idlib, diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News. Turkey wanted an end to the Syrian army's operations otherwise it could negatively affect an upcoming congress in Russia later this month to boost efforts for a political situation in the war-torn country. It also wanted Russia and Iran to put pressure on Syria to end the operations.

  The operations, the sources said, were targeting moderate rebel groups in the region

★ Former Turkish President Abdullah Gül said on Friday that he did "not want to get into a further argument" over the recent polemic that erupted with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and ruling Justice and Development Party officials, after he criticized a controversial recent state of emergency decree law, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Gül had attracted criticism from within the Justice and Development Party and its leader Erdoğan after he criticized the state of emergency decree law exempting civilians who fought against the 2016 coup attempt from criminal liability.

  "Those who were once under our party's roof but have now taken to drifting around outside in a different sort of mood have no right to say anything about our party," Erdoğan said in a speech to the AKP parliamentary group on Jan. 10, without directly naming Gül.

  "Those who have fallen from the train will stay where they have fallen," he added.

  Saying he was reluctant to comment further on the issue, Gül said "everything is clear, everybody knows each other. I do not want to enter into an argument with friends."

  Regarding the cabinet's latest decision to extend the state of emergency for a sixth term, Gül said he "hopes this will be the last extension."

  "Of course Turkey has experienced an extraordinary period recently. [The state of emergency] was necessary to bring things under control. But to normalize everything and to show that democracy in Turkey is fully working would be a huge favor for Turkey. It would be a grand hope for everybody," Gül said.

★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again sued main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Jan. 12 over an alleged "attack on personal rights."

  Mr. Erdoğan demanded $40,000 in local currency in compensation from Kılıçdaroğlu over his remarks about the Interior Ministry's removal of the Republican people's party' s Beşiktaş district mayor on Jan. 5.

  Murat Hazinedar and two Beşiktaş municipal council members, Avni Sipahi and Çetin Kırışgil, were dismissed from their duties on Jan. 4 by the Interior Ministry.

  Erdoğan recently sued Kılıçdaroğlu for "insulting the presidential office" in remarks referring an alleged phone conversation between Erdoğan and his son.


★ In a surprise ruling, Turkey's constitutional Court Ordered the releasing of two journalists. The court said that the Rights of Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay were violated .

  The two journalists, who have both been in prison for more than a year, were jailed in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt.

  Both Altan and Alpay have been accused of "links to terrorist groups" and "attempting to overthrow the government," charges they have denied.

  However, around 145 journalists are still in jail, according to the Turkish Journalists' Association. International journalism groups say that Turkey is now the world's largest jailer of journalists.

  On January 12th, Turkish prime minister Binali Yıldırım criticized the ruling of the Constitutional Court. He said that the court trying the two journalist would know more about the case and the Constitutional Court.

  The Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ was more openly critical of the Constitutional Court ruling. "[With the ruling], the Constitutional Court has gone beyond the limits set by the constitution and the laws, acting as a first degree court by evaluating the case and the evidence," Bozdağ wrote on his Twitter account on Jan. 12.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ In related news, European Council President Jean-Claude Juncker warned on Jan. 12 that there could be "no progress" in Turkey's relations with the European Union "as long as journalists are detained in Turkey."

★ As we reported to you last week, a New York jury convicted an executive of the Turkey's Halkbank executive of Fraud and conspiracy to violate US sanctions against Iran.

  This week Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said that any fines levied against Halkbank by the United States will be paid by the bank itself and not the Turkish Treasury.

  Halkbank, which is majority state owned, has denied wrongdoing and says all of its transactions are in line with local and international regulations.


★ Leading Turkish businessman Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ has been elected as the new head of the Turkish-American Business Council (TAİK).

  In a general assembly election of the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board on Jan. 11, new presidents were elected to 66 of the 142 business councils.

  "The political, economic and trade ties between Turkey and the U.S. have run in different gears from time to time. As the representatives of the business world, our main aim is to minimize the differences in point of views and priorities," Yalçındağ told Hürriyet Daily News, adding that TAİK would work to boost bilateral relations.

★ Turkey will in the future cease to be a meat-importing country, Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ahmet Eşref Fakıbaba said on Jan. 12, amid recent controversy over Turkey's struggling livestock sector and rising imports of meat.

★ Turkey has been the world's top flour seller over the last five years, making one-third of all flour exports, with 3.6 million tons of flour exports worth $1.1 billion in 2017, an industry group said on Jan. 10.

  Turkey needs to import wheat to maintain its top seller position. Kazakhstan and Germany follow Turkey in flour exports.

★ Turkey's current account deficit hit $4.2 billion in November 2017, marking an increase of $1.94 billion year-on-year, state-run Anatolia News Agency has reported, citing official data released on Jan. 12. The total for the first 11 months of 2017 was almost 40 billion dollars.

  The highest current account deficit over the last 20 years was in 2011 at about 75 billion dollars.



★ Academy Award-winning actor Russell Crowe on Jan. 5 praised Turkish actor Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ on his Twitter account, reaching out to nearly three million followers.

  Upon news reports that Tatlıtuğ was offered the role of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in an upcoming movie depicting the Battle of Gallipoli during the First World War, Crowe wrote "Kıvanç!!! Very good actor" in response to another user.

  "Russell. Happy New Year! Thank you for your kind words. How nice that you are still watching," Tatlıtuğ wrote on his Twitter account on the same day.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ The shooting of the film "Müslüm," which features the life of legendary Turkish arabesque singer Müslüm Gürses, has started. Actor Timuçin Esen plays the role of Gürses, who died in 2013.

  At a recently held press conference in Istanbul, Gürses' wife actress Muhterem Nur highlighted her husband's importance in her life.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ Turkey's internationally known photography artist Ali Borovalı is set to open his exhibition 'Is There Anybody Out There?' in three locations simultaneously: The French Culture Center exhibition halls in Istanbul (Jan 24-Feb 28), Ankara (Jan. 25-Feb. 17) and İzmir (Jan. 27-Feb. 26).

  Read more at >> here <<


★ At Food event will be taken place in Istanbul soon, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  Edible flowers, floral flavors, super powders, plant-based cuisine, Asian food and meat-free burgers are rising gastronomic trends. No longer limited to either taste or health, gastronomy encompasses social responsibility matters.

  Traceability and transparency are becoming bigger concerns for diners. People want to eat "clean" fair trade food. Food waste is now considered a crime. The root-to-stem movement is accelerating. All these topics will be discussed at an event in Istanbul.

  Le Cordon Bleu Istanbul in partnership with Özyeğin University Gastronomy and Culinary Art Program will be hosting a gastro-talk event at French Palace on Jan. 18.

  There will also be "trendy" bites to accompany talks prepared by Le Cordon Bleu Chefs and students.

  Famous chefs from Le Cordon Bleu Istanbul and Paris will discuss new culinary trends. Two guest-speakers from Paris will be in attendance; Christina Huong, the chef-owner of Taiwanese-French fusion restaurant Zouka, and Pierre Dutaret, a restaurant investment consultant and chef-owner of Farago.

  The event is free but reservation is required: act@thehybrid.org

  Read more at >> here <<


★ A shelter dog, adopted by the Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality City Theaters, has become a theater artist in John Steinbeck's 'of Mice and Men.' She will also play in the theater's future projects.

  The dog had been found sick on the street by the Kocaeli Municipality animal shelter teams before adoption by the City Theaters.

  The dog, named Boncuk, will be performing as Dolores in "of Mice and Men".

  Read more at >> here <<


★ Futurist techno producer Charles Duff, known as Matrixxman, will be at Istanbul's Zorlu PSM Studio on Jan. 20.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ A large toy museum displaying toys from all over the world has been inaugurated in turkey's Black Sea province of Samsun.

  The museum features an array of nearly 800 toys, most of which were produced in the 1900s-1920s, worth some $550,000, Osman Genç, the mayor of Samsun's Canik district, said at an opening ceremony on Jan. 9.

  The museum also includes miniature villages, Native American tents, airplanes and trains produced in Germany in the 1920s, as well as Ford's first toy car from 1920.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ With 65000 books published every year, Turkish Culture Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Jan. 12 that Turkey is among the top ten countries in the world in book diversity.

  However, the minister said the country has fallen behind the desired figures in terms of the number of published books.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkey's first Medical Aromatic Plants Museum, located in Turkey's southeastern province of Hatay, resembles a pharmacy warehouse as it houses 280 medical and aromatic plant species, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The museum, opened by the Hatay Governor's Office in 2013 in a restored two-story Antakya house, displays the photos of 280 plant species, nearly 200 dried herbs and the oils of some 50 endemic plants.

  A unique venture, the museum receives some 10,000 local and foreign visitors a year and is known for displaying plants that are believed to cure flu-like diseases. The museum provides information about their use.

  The museum offers visitors a tea, made of thyme, hibiscus and garnet and known as "zahter," as well as various herbal teas.

  Read more at >> here <<



★ Turkey's "white paradise" Pamukkale, a UNESCO World Heritage site, offers unique wellness treatment opportunities thanks to its antique hot springs and mineral-rich thermal pools.

  Located in the southwestern province of Denizli, Pamukkale (cotton fort) stands over the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis.

  It has been a spa town and thermal treatment center for millennia since Roman times. It is especially famous for its white limestone travertines, shaped by calcium-rich hot springs.

  A natural spring, situated at close proximity to the white terraces of travertine, Pamukkale is particularly popular with tourists. Dating from ancient Hierapolis, this pool was formed naturally after the collapse of a series of columns in an earthquake in 692 A.D., which had caused thermal water to accumulate.


★ Reviewing the best Archaeological discoveries in Turkey in 2017, Ömer Erbil of the Hürriyet Daily News cites the following:

  3,500-year-old graves unearthed during subway construction works in Istanbul's Beşiktaş neighborhood. The 3000-year-old Urartian Fort found submerged in Lake Van.

  The tomb of a Russian commander found accidentally at a construction site in Ardahan province.

  A Turkish bath used by five Ottoman Sultans uncovered during restoration work at Topkapı Palace.

  12 Bronze-age tablets, featuring the traces of the ancient cities that were established thousands of years ago in Kayseri.

  an 9th century B.C. sculpture of a woman, around the same size as the statue of Hittite King Suppiluliuma at the Tayinat Mound in the southern Turkish province of Hatay.

  A Roman-era sports facility unearthed at a construction site in the Sarayönü district of the Central Anatolian province of Konya.

  Thousands of human and animal bones in the 12,000-year-old ancient settlement of Göbeklitepe in Turkey's southeastern province of Şanlıurfa

  A 4,000 year-old prenuptial agreement, which was found in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri and dates back to the Assyrians, revealed history's first infertility diagnosis. According to the agreement, if no fertility occurs after two years of marriage, the wife must allow her husband to have children with a female slave. After the first son is born, the slave is set free.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ The Antalya Promotion Foundation has prepared maps in three languages to draw attention to historical artifacts from Turkey that have been smuggled abroad.

  The ATAV started printing the map series, "My homeland is Antalya," 11 years ago. This year it aims to draw attention to the illegal trafficking of historical artifacts, producing maps in Turkish, English and German.

  The artifacts featured in the maps include the Corydella Treasure, which was smuggled from Turkey and is on display at the Washington Museum, the Pergamon Thyke sculpture that is on display in Belgium, the Heroon of Trysa plates on display at the Vienna Museum of Art History, and the Nereid Monument of Xanthos on display at the British Museum in London.

  During a recent press conference at the Antalya Museum, ATAV President Yeliz Gül Ege said many ancient artifacts were taken from Anatolia "in the darkness of the 19th century" to enrich museums in London, Vienna, Athens, Brussels and Washington.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ Ömer Erbil of the Hürriyet Daily News got a special permission to see the 50,000 artifacts that have been seized over the last three years and are being kept in sealed containers at Istanbul archaeology Museum. He wrote a lengthy article about his Visit to the museum.

  As we reported to you and the previous weeks, last month the Istanbul Police conducted the biggest operation in the history of the Republic and seized almost 27,000 historical artifacts. Seven people, who had attempted to sell the artifacts, were arrested as part of the operation.

  The artifacts, are from the Hittite, Egypt, Mycenae, Phoenicia and Urartian cultures and the Hellenistic and Islamic periods, as well as silver, gold and bronze coins.

  These 27000 artifacts were also added to the sealed containers at the Museum.

  The museum will be sorting the artifacts and preparing a special report. Among the items confiscated a large number of them turn out to be fake.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ Some 595 ancient Greek coins dating back 4,000 years have been seized in an operation in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak's Kozlu district.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ The area from which two Roman-era sarcophagi were removed in 2015 and 2016 in Turkey's northwestern province of Bursa's İznik district, known as the "city of the dead" (necropolis), is monitored by police and gendarmerie teams 24/7, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Authorities have started a lawsuit to expropriate the private Olive Grove where the sarcophagi were found for further excavations.

  Read more at >> here <<



★ Kartalkaya ski resort lures thousands of visitors to Bolu, reports the Hürriyet Daily News

  The Ski Resort has 25 different tracks. It lies in the Köroğlu Mountains in the northern Black Sea province of Bolu.

  the summit of the mountain range Is 7200 feet . The resort attracts over 120 Thousand people every year.

  Read more at >> here <<


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