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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 12 May 2018

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 12 May 2018]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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Edited by Fuad Tokad

★ Turkey's president on May 12 said the nation aims to attract around 350,000 foreign students, up from the current 115,000, making it one of the world's top five destinations for study abroad, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.

  "We not only open up our schools to visiting students, but our hearts as well," Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the 11th International Students Gathering at Istanbul's Haliç Congress Center, organized by the Federation of International Students Associations.

  "No matter where they are coming from, we would like to continue our relations with them in the future."

  Erdoğan also said that Turkey is "working on every platform" to make the world a more just and better place, highlighting the inequality of representation on the UN Security Council.

  "We are not living in conditions in the wake of World War II," said Erdoğan. "Thus, we need to reform the United Nations."

  Erdoğan said that worldwide, people are living in an atmosphere of fear.

  "Because they are scared of these five permanent members of the UN Security Council. But we say it as we believe it. The world is bigger than five," he added, reiterating his motto on the issue. "No Muslim country sits on the UN Security Council. What kind of a structure is that? We want justice," he explained.

★ President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated newly-appointed Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad over the phone on May 12. According to presidential sources, Erdoğan wished success to Mahathir and stressed the importance of increasing bilateral relations between the two countries.

  92-year-old Mahathir, who led an opposition alliance to a surprise victory in Wednesday's parliamentary elections, was sworn in as the seventh prime minister of Malaysia on Thursday.

  With Wednesday's election result, ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), lost the driver's seat for the first time since Malaysia gained independence in 1957.

  Mahathir was the country's prime minister for 22 years, between 1981 and 2003, making him the country's longest-serving leader. He is also known as a close friend to Erdoğan.

★ The Turkish foreign minister on May 12 criticized Washington's unilateral decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

  "This U.S. decision is wrong," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, speaking in Istanbul at the Forum for Arab Journalists.

  Last December, President Donald Trump sparked international outrage when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and vowed to relocate Washington's embassy to the city.

  The U.S. intends to officially relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on May 14 to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment in 1948 -- an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "The Catastrophe".

  Çavuşoğlu reiterated Turkey's stance on Palestine, saying that even if every country remains silent on the Jerusalem issue "Turkey will not."

  "Turkey will continue to defend the Jerusalem case for the Palestinians," the top diplomat added.

  Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Palestine-Israel conflict, with Palestinians seeking East Jerusalem -- occupied by Israel since 1967 -- as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.

★ Turkey will station F-35 fighter jets due to arrive from the U.S. in June in the Eastern Anatolian province of Malatya, at a base that safeguards the country's borders with Iraq, Iran and Syria, reported HDN.

  The joint strike fighters will be stationed in the 7th Main Jet Base Command in Malatya, which is also home to the Kürecik anti-missile shield has been functioning since 2011 as a protective measure for NATO, of which Turkey is a member.

  According to defense industry authorities, the delivery of the first of the 30 F-35 fighters will be made on June 21 at a ceremony in the U.S.

  Preparation work in Malatya to welcome the jets – 30 of them in the first delivery — is still ongoing, with construction and modernization works in place.

★ Five members of an organized crime ring, including its Iraqi leader, were detained in an operation conducted by Istanbul police on May 9. Three of them were arrested by court later on.

  Police officers, acting on a tip-off about cars stolen in Europe being sold in Iraq, detained three members of the ring, including a Greek national, at the customs office in Istanbul's Yeşilköy district after they cleared a luxury Jaguar automobile through customs.

  Police later raided a villa in Istanbul's Büyükçekmece district and detained a Turkish national and the Iraqi leader of the group. A Mercedes SUV and $55,000 in cash were confiscated in the raid.

  After the legal procedures the two cars will be sent to their owners in Germany, police have said.

★ Reuters reported that an explosion has damaged a Turkish vessel carrying wheat to Yemen's Houthi-controlled port of Saleef, with varying accounts attributing the incident on May10 to an unexplained blast aboard the ship or a possible missile strike.

  A naval ship belonging to a Saudi-led military coalition received a call from the captain of the vessel, the İnce İnebolu, who reported an opening had appeared in the middle of the ship on the left side, a spokesman for the alliance said.

  A separate source connected with the shipment said the vessel was carrying 50,000 tons of Russian milling wheat, adding that it was unclear if it was hit by a missile or due to an internal blast, while anchored about 70 miles off Saleef, which is just north of the port of Hodeidah on the Red Sea.

  The ship was in a waiting area, the source said, where vessels typically anchor for permission to dock. Reuters was unable to independently confirm whether a missile was fired.

★ The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project will enter into service as of June 12, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak said on May 11.

  "The opening ceremony will be held with the attendance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev on June 12," Albayrak said during his speech at a sector meeting in the northwestern province of Bursa.

  Project officials announced in April that the first gas would be pumped on June 30.

  TANAP, running from the eastern province of Ardahan on the border with Georgia towards borders with Greece and Bulgaria, is the central and longest section of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC). The main aim of the SGC is to connect the giant Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe through the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCP), TANAP, and the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). The SCP runs from Azerbaijan to Turkey through Georgia and the TAP starts in Greece and runs to Italy through Albania and the Adriatic Sea.

  The initial capacity of TANAP is expected to be 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year, gradually increasing to 31 billion cubic meters. Around 6 billion cubic meters of gas will be delivered to Turkey and the remaining volume will be supplied to Europe.

  Albayrak also said Turkey would start its first solo oil and gas deep-sea drilling in the Mediterranean before the end of this summer.

★ Electric car maker Tesla plans to launch in Turkey, its chief executive said late on May 10, HDN.

  "BTW, planning to launch Tesla in Turkey later this year," Elon Musk said in a post on his Twitter account. "Love your country & will be there in person for the launch," he added.

  The company produced more than 300,000 electric vehicles as of February.

  While Turkey is highly dependent on oil imports, electric cars could provide some relief for its gasoline consumption.

  There are a few hundred Tesla owners in Turkey, who order the cars from abroad.

  However, the low number of charging stations and limited services are some of the biggest hurdles for the electric vehicle market in the country, according to experts.

★ President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again described interest rates as the "mother of all evil," vowing that Turkey will "emerge victorious in its fight against interest rates" after the June 24 snap elections.

  Addressing business people at a ceremony in the Turkish capital Ankara on May 11, Erdoğan took aim at "foreign exchange speculators, interest rate lobbies and enemies of Turkey under the guise of credit rating firms."

  "My belief is that interest rates are the mother of all evils. Interest rates are the cause of inflation. Inflation is a result, not a cause. We need to push down interest rates," he said at the event, organized by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges.

  "If my people say 'continue on this path' in the election, I say I will emerge victorious in the fight against this curse of interest rates. We must bring down the interest rates," Erdoğan said.

  The Turkish president has long claimed that high inflation is caused by high interest rates, against conventional wisdom among economists.

★ Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs has suggested citizens practice "e-fasting" during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when Muslims around the world abstain from food during daylight hours.

  "We have to come up with ways to tackle [the impact of the Internet on social relations]. In my opinion, e-fasting is the answer," stated an article penned by Prof. Dr. İlhan Kılıç in the May issue of the Directorate's monthly magazine.

  E-fasting refers to cutting down on use of technologies such as smartphones and laptops.

  "Consider those people who are not able to eat or travel without pressing the 'like' button and wasting time," Kılıç wrote.

  "However, [e-fasting leads to] more shared moments with the people we see every day and our neighbors, instead of spending hours with someone we have never met in person and perhaps never will," he added.

  "Instead of trying to be cool, we should try to be a servant of God," Kılıç urged readers



★ The Sabancı University spring festival that took place for the first time last year, is being repeated on May 12 this year.

  In addition to featuring works by world renowned artist, the festival will also have activities such as "Yoga in the Museum", "Jazz in the Museum", "Late Night Showings in the Museum", open air Theater, educational programs directed to children and adults, concerts, seminars and conferences.

  The Istanbul dance studio will have dancing events with dancers from the swing era.

  Arif Sağ and Orhan Gencebay

★ The Board of Directors of the copyright organization "The Union of the Owners of Musical Works", MESAM, have been removed by a Turkish ministry. The Board of Directors head was the renowned Turkish folk musician Arif Sağ.

  A temporary Board of Directors led by another renowned Turkish musician Coşkun Sabah has been appointed. The new board has sent the members of the old board to the discipline committee.

  It is important that the new board is trying to register more members aligned with them so that in the upcoming elections they can permanently get appointed as board members.

  The chairman of the old board Arif Sağ claimed that Orhan Gencebay, another renowned Turkish musician who resigned earlier, in his letter of resignation was emphasizing sectarianism, and promoting "crimes of hatred".

★ The third Deniz Bank First Script First Film competition has started accepting entries, reports the Turkish daily Sözcü.

  The bank is working in cooperation with the Turkish Film and Audiovisual Culture Endowment.

  The goal of the competition is to help talented script writers and make their works accessible.


★ After 11 years of absence, Shakira will be visiting Turkey again for a concert.

  Shakira will be promoting her new album "El Dorado" with a world tour, and the July Istanbul concert will be part of this tour.

  Shakira says that she is excited to be back in Istanbul and looking forward to singing her songs together with the audience.


★ Opera singers and Istanbul Opera orchestra and chorus will be commemorating Neşet Ertaş, the late Turkish folk music singer and troubadour, with a symphonic concert featuring Ertaş's works.

  Neşet Ertaş was chosen as a living human treasure by UNESCO in 2010.

  The concert will take place on May 18 at Istanbul's İş Sanat.


★ Journalists and photographer Yavuz Alatan opened his 28th photography exhibition in Turkey's capital Ankara's Black and White Art Gallery, reports the Turkish daily Sözcü.

  The name of the exhibition is "Every Night Is Paris". Turkey's former Constitutional Court had Yekta Güngör Özden and French Consul Christophe Hemmings were present among the large crowd of attendees at the opening day.

  The exhibition features artist's 40 night views of Paris.


★ Turks in the arts have started expressing their views on the upcoming June 24 snap elections.

  One of them, actor Salih Kalyoncu, says that "everybody's scared. However there is also some hope".

  Kalyoncu added that 100,000 students and professors are incarcerated, lots of journalists are in jail for asking why and what for and preparing news.

  For them, meaning the ruling Justice and Development Party, the women is a second class citizen. Also, he said that no ruling group likes the theater, because the theater is always in the opposition.

  Another Turkish artist, renowned singer Selda Bağcan, disclosed who she will vote for in the elections through her Facebook account. She had a picture of her with the opposition presidential candidate Muharrem Ince.

  Selda Bağcan will be in the US this year as a special guest at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

  Turkish rock singer Can Gox also urged everybody to go vote on June 24 in his concert on May 4. He finished his concert with the Izmir March, which the opposition sings quite frequently.


★ Daily Sözcü carried an interview with Şinasi Yelkenci, an artist who uses refuse from the sea for his art.

  Yelkenci has been practicing his art for the past five years and is the only person from Turkey to enter the International SplashTrash ArtExpo, which brought 100 artists from 36 countries.

  See more about the International SplashTrash ArtExpo  >> here <<


★ Mercan Selçuk is the granddaughter of renowned Turkish composer and singer Münir Nurettin Selçuk, and the daughter of senior Turkish singer Timur Selçuk.

  Her dance company will be staging a show titled "Our Story" starting June 7 in Istanbul's Baba Sahne.

  According to the artist, "Our Story" tells the transition from childhood to adulthood of people who are on their way to becoming dance artists, tells about their relationships, events, their emotional states in their lives through ballet and modern dance.

  Selçuk Says that ballet and modern dance are from the West, but her show also incorporates the works of Turkish artists and Turkish instruments. For example there is whirling dervish performance, In addition to piano and violin there are the Turkish instruments kanun and ney.


★ "Eskifest", an event that brought the stars of the Turkish rock music on May 4 through 6, reports the Doğan News Agency.

  The event took place at Turkey's Northwestern city of Eskişehir.

  Among the artists and bands participating in the Festival were Mor ve Ötesi, Hayko Cepkin, Yeni Türkü, Pinhani, Tuna Kiremitçi, Niyazi Koyuncu and What da Funk, Athena, Feridun Düzağaç, Manga, Vega, Adamlar, Sena Şener and Set, Teoman, Selda Bağcan & Boom Pam, Büyük Ev Ablukada, Ezhel, Umut Kuzey, Pera and Piiz .

  20,000 people attended the event.


★ Oya Dance School' s students ages three through 23 staged Don Quixote in Istanbul's Caddebostan cultural Center on May 7, reports the Turkish daily Sözcü.

  The event was free.


★ Italian singer Nina Zilli had a concert on May 10 for her Turkish fans at Istanbul's İş Sanat.

  Her song "50 Mila" is much liked in Turkey. The song was used as the soundtrack in Turkish director Ferzan Özpetek's 2010 film "Loose Cannons".

  Hear Zilli's song 50 Mila  >> here <<


★ Photographer Ayşegül Dinçkök and world free styled diving champion Şahika Ercümen are collaborating on a project. As part of this project the two women had an exhibition titled "Deep Passion: Misconception "at Istanbul's Naval Museum, reports Sercan Meriç of the Turkish daily Sözcü.

  The exhibition tells the adventures of the two women who swam with sharks. Ayşegül Dinçkök says that the biggest enemy of the sharks are humans. Dinçkök says that humans are more savage than the sharks. "There are only five shark attacks on humans a year, but a lot more dog bites than that. And humans kill millions of sharks for only their fins in a year" she adds.

  Her exhibition will be on through May 17.

  See Ms. Ercümen with sharks:  >> here <<


★ The Chainsmokers will be in Istanbul in August for a concert in the event dubbed "Play", reports the Turkish daily Sözcü.

  The band is climbing up to the top of the charts with their song "#Selfie" (hear the song  >> here << ) in the US and Britain.

  The band was formed by American DJs Alex Paul and Andrew Taggart.

  In addition to the Chainsmokers, other Turkish and foreign bands will participate in the event.


  The Poetry Boat

★ Sarıyer Municipality in the Istanbul Province is organizing the seventh Literature Days. The event will continue through Sunday, May 13, reports the Turkish daily Sözcü.

  30 publishers and 180 writers will be participating in the event. Many poets, authors, journalists and scholars will be hosts at the event.

  There will also be tours on the Bosporus Strait on a boat dubbed "Poetry Boat" in the accompaniment of poetry reading.



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