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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 17 March 2018

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 17 March 2018]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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Edited by Fuad Tokad

★ Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on March 17 described a European Parliament motion against Turkey's ongoing operation in Syria's Afrin as an "eclipse of reason", reported Hürriyet Daily News.

  The Turkish premier's remarks came at the ruling Justice and Development Party 6th provincial congress in the Küçükcekmece district of Istanbul.

  "It is understood that the European Parliament is in a state of eclipse of reason. They can't explain why they are uncomfortable with Turkey's fight against terrorism, neither to us nor to the world," Yildirim said.

  On March 15, the European Parliament drafted a joint motion calling on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Syria's Afrin region.

  On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG militants from Afrin.

★ A convoy of Turkish Armed Forces entered Syria on March 17 to establish a new observation point in northwestern Aleppo.

  Turkish troops have camped at a hill in a village of Anadan as the northern countryside of Aleppo and the area opposite to the deployment point which is controlled by Bashar al-Assad regime forces.

  The new observation point is located 35 kilometers from Turkey-Syria border.

  The aim of the deployment, in accordance with the Astana agreement, is to establish a sixth cease-fire observation point, according to military sources.

  Russian forces are now expected to position themselves outside of the Idlib de-escalation zone, on the frontline separating the regime and opposition forces.

★ In related news, reports the Anatolia News Agency reported that the Turkish military released footage of an undamaged Afrin hospital building on March 17.

  The one-minute video that was shot at 9.43 a.m. local time shows the hospital building is in good shape.

  Recently, YPG claimed the Turkish army hit the hospital. "Reports of a hospital bombing in Afrin by the Turkish Armed Forces are false," the military said in a statement posted on its Twitter account.

  Operation Olive Branch "has been conducted without harming any civilians, innocent people and the environment", the military added.

  Turkish troops that had begun Operation Olive Branch in Syria on opposite sides of Afrin's north have been reunited, the Turkish General Staff said on March 17.

  A total of 3,567 militants have been "neutralized" since the start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's northwestern Afrin region, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement on March 17 morning.

  Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

★ Turkish Embassy in Paris on March 16 condemned recent arson attacks on three vehicles and a cafe belonging to Turkish citizens in the French capital and Marseille reported the Hürriyet Daily News.

  In a written statement, the embassy said: "The protests and actions of the Kurdistan Workers Party/YPG terrorist organization in France, which have recently turned into countrywide violence, have taken a new dimension with arson attacks on vehicles and businesses of our citizens living in Marseille and Paris."

★ The Iranian Aviation Authority on March 16 said the fallen Turkish airplane's technical information was still inaccessible, despite the recovery of the part of the black box that revealed cockpit conversations.

  Following a meeting held by the Iranian Air Association regarding the death of 11 women, including two pilots and a cabin attendant, in western Iran on March 11, the authorities said Canadian specialists would also take part in the investigation process, as the plane was Canadian made.

  The Bombardier Challenger 604 was carrying Mina Başaran, the 28-year-old daughter of the prominent Turkish businessman Hüseyin Basaran, and seven of her friends. The group had spent several days in the U.A.E. celebrating ahead of her wedding the following month.

  The hen party was also intended for three of the other passengers, who were due to marry this summer. Several of the victims, including Mina, had enjoyed successful careers in the fashion industry.

  The Turkish media reported that at least one of the killed women was pregnant, which made headlines across Turkey and received wide-spread attention on social media.

  The flight took off on March 11 from Sharjah in the U.A.E.

  Iran's Civil Aviation Organization on March 11 said the plane crashed at 6:09 p.m. after the pilot requested to descend due to a "technical problem."

  The crash comes less than a month after a twin-engine passenger plane of Iran's Aseman Airlines crashed in the Zagros range, killing all 66 people on board.

★ Hürriyet Daily News reported that at least 14 migrants, including four children, died when a boat carrying about 20 people capsized overnight in the Aegean Sea, Greek police said on March 17.

  The boat was ferrying migrants from Turkey to Greece. Police recovered eight more bodies after the corpses of a man, a woman and four children surfaced off the island of Agathonissi.

  Two women and a man who managed to swim to safety sounded the alarm. Survivors said the boat was carrying 21 people, according to port officials.

★ Turkey's 1915 Çanakkale Bridge and Highway project, a suspension bridge over the Dardanelles Straits, has secured $2.83 billion of financing, Çanakkale Otoyol, the company formed by the consortium handling the project, said on March 16.

  The loan will be paid in 15 years with a five-year grace period and was secured from 24 banks and institutions, including Deutsche Bank, Bank of China and ICBC, from 10 countries, it said.

  The countries participating in the financial deal were comprised of South Korea, Germany, France, Italy, U.A.E., Kuwait, China, Britain, Denmark and Turkey, according to the statement.



  Spellbound contemporary ballet

★ The Ankara Music Festival, organized by the Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation, will be celebrating its 35th year between April 4 and 26.

  The longest-running festival in the Turkish capital, the 35th Ankara Music Festival will host nearly 400 artists from Turkey, Spain, Hungary, the U.S., Georgia, Czech Republic, Italy and Romania to present selected works from the fields of music, dance and jazz. The festival's opening will be made by the Presidential Symphonic Orchestra (CSO) under the baton of Rengim Gökmen. The soloist of the concert will be Turkey's internationally-acclaimed pianist İdil Biret.

  The closing concert, organized to commemorate the late president of the Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation, Mehmet Başman, will be presented by Sibiu Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Romanian conductor Constantin Grigore and Gabriel Croitoru as the soloist.


★ Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş on March 15 inaugurated a new branch of a Turkey-based cultural institute Yunus Emre  in the Russian capital Moscow, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  "The Yunus Emre Institute operates as one of the most important elements of Turkey's cultural diplomacy from Astana to Sarajevo, from Khartoum to Moscow," Kurtulmuş said.

  The Yunus Emre Institute provides services abroad to people who want to learn the Turkish language, culture and art. One of its aims is to improve Turkey's friendship with other countries and increase cultural exchanges. Since it was established in 2009, the institute, with branches all across the world, has taught Turkish to more than 99,000 people in 43 countries. Named after the 13th-century poet Yunus Emre, the institute now has 54 cultural centers around the world offering artistic, social and scientific programs.

★ The Istanbul Film Festival is preparing to meet cinema lovers for the 37th time. The festival, with a program comprising highlights from Turkey and world cinema, will take place between April 6 and 17.

  The festival hosts 198 feature films, as well as 12 short films, in 18 different categories, and in addition to the screening of a total of 210 films by 218 directors from 43 countries, there will be Q&As and festival talks with guest filmmakers, concerts, and other special events.


★ Cem Elibol, a local of Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Aksaray, collects old kilims, rugs and household goods from Anatolian villages to send them to the U.S., Far Eastern countries and Europe, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Elibol, 48, first began collecting old household objects 15 years ago. He then started visiting villages across Turkey to find various old pieces that he believed had historical value.

  With the help of mediators, he obtained precious items, including old kilims, carpets, radios, gramophones, baskets, vases and cradles. He then restored them and began displaying them at Galerihane, which he has made look like a nostalgic museum.

  Elibol turned a part of his office into an atelier, where pieces of the old rugs are sewed together to become patchworks. Now, he sends those handmade products to culture aficionados in the U.S., Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands over the internet and with export companies.


★ The two talented women of an Istanbul-based music duo are ready to change Turkish people's taste in music. The duo named 'İstanbulied,' performing lieder from various composers, is formed of pianist Senem Zeynep Ercan and mezzo-soprano Ekin Bezirganoğlu. The musicians aim to inspire listeners and other fellow musicians through their innovative music, in which they harmonize classical lied genre with Turkish folk, Turkish classical and tango music.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ An exhibition displaying hundreds of pieces related to the Gallipoli Campaign opened in Deriden stores in Istanbul's Ortaköy neighborhood on March 18 for Gallipoli Memorial Day, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The exhibition can be visited for free everyday until 6 p.m.


★ The Ankara Art Gallery and Auction House is now preparing to host ambassadors and diplomatic missions, after welcoming art lovers on Jan. 16 with an opening exhibition titled "On the Track of Our Civilization."

  Due to great interest, the gallery has extended the exhibition for one month.

  The exhibition is composed of mixed Islamic artworks, some of which have been exhibited for the first time in Turkish art history.

  It has drawn great attention from art lovers in the Turkish capital Ankara, with Ottoman sultans' edicts, old and new calligraphy works, modern and classical hilyas, selected examples of shrines, handwritten Qurans, miniature art, tile, naht, kat'I, marble and rosaries.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ Cleaning work is underway in the largest underground city in the world, which was discovered during the Nevşehir Fortress and Surrounding Urban Transformation Project works in 2014 in the central Anatolian province of Nevşehir, DNA.

  Nevşehir Mayor Hasan Ünver said 100,000 square meters of the ancient settlement, which completely covers an area of 396,000 square meters, will open in July this year. Excavations have been ongoing in the underground city for four years with municipal contributions, as well as with the contributions of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and academics of various universities, said Ünver.

  "We have reached seven-kilometer-long galleries, unearthed a normal living space, as well as a 12th-century rock-carved church, a sixth century-monastery and mosque-like religious places, which date back to the Seljuk era. We have also found horse barns, where military horses had been cared for. In addition, we have found four oil houses and hundreds of tobacco pipes, made of meerschaum. Everything here is under our control," he said.

 Read more at >> here <<


★ A new museum displaying the personal belongings and works of drama writer, educator and journalist Haldun Taner, who lived between 1915 and 1986, has opened in the Fenerbahçe district of Istanbul.

  A building in Fenerbahçe, which belongs to the Kadıköy Municipality, has been restored and turned into the Haldun Taner Museum House. The opening of the museum was made on Taner's 103rd birthday on March 16 with the participation of veteran artists Metin Akpınar, Salih Kalyon and Can Gürzap as well as many other guests. Speaking at the ceremony, Taner's widow Demet Taner said her long-time dream had come true with the opening of the museum.


★ After a recent slowdown in tourists from traditional markets, the southwestern Turkish province of Muğla expects to welcome guests from the new markets such as India, Iran and Kazakhstan, with tourism managers saying there is a boom in early reservations in the city.

  With 1,484 kilometers of coastline, Muğla's touristic facilities have a capacity of 260,000 beds and are now preparing for the new season hoping for more tourists. Last year Muğla hosted 2.09 million foreign tourists, a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year when the tourism sector in Turkey suffered a considerable blow. Read more at >> here <<


★ German Lopez, a timple player from Gran Canaria, will greet music lovers on March 23 at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall in Istanbul at 8 p.m., reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  The timple is known as a five-string instrument unique to Gran Canaria. Lopez has performed in various festivals around the world, playing folk, jazz, classical, funk and flamenco music with his instrument.


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


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