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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 23 June 2018
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 23 June 2018]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ Citizens head to the polls around across Turkey on June 24 in snap presidential and parliamentary elections to elect 600 lawmakers and the country's first president with broad executive powers.
The voting process for 56.3 million registered citizens will be held between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time at 180,065 ballot boxes in all 81 provinces of Turkey.
Some 1.65 million registered citizens will be casting their first votes in the snap election, which will herald a switch to a new powerful executive presidency narrowly approved in a controversial referendum last year, marred by allegations of fraud.
For the first time, the presidential and parliamentary ballots will be placed in a single envelope.
While two broad electoral alliances are entering the parliamentary elections, six names are running for the presidential office.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is up for the seat from the "People's Alliance," racing on behalf of the ruling Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party.
Muharrem Ince is running from the main opposition Republican People's Party and jailed Selahattin Demirtaş is running from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party.
Good Party leader Meral Akşener, Felicity Party leader Temel Karamollaoğlu and Patriotic Party leader Doğu Perinçek are also running for the post after collecting 100,000 signatures from citizens to be nominated.
As his requests for release have been rejected by courts, Demirtaş recently became the first politician in Turkey to make a campaign speech from prison, addressing voters through his wife's phone on June 6.
A first in Turkish political history: Electoral alliances
The landmark election day was rescheduled to a year-and-a-half before its original date following a joint proposal made by
Erdoğan and the Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahçeli on April 18. After parliament approved the bill on April 20, the two leaders declared they would enter both elections in a "People's Alliance," officially launched on May 1.
For the first time in Turkish history, political parties will go to elections by forming alliances as ballots will bear the name of the alliance juxtaposed to that of the candidates whose parties have decided to proceed with forging an alliance.
In the parliamentary run, the Justice and Development Party - the Nationalist Movement Party bloc will be up against the "Nation Alliance," an electoral formation including the CHP, Good Party, and the SP.
In Turkey, a political party must receive 10 percent of the votes nationwide for any of its candidates to win seats in parliament. According to the new rules, only the alliance needs to pass the much-criticized 10-percent threshold in order for the parties to claim seats.
While the "People's Alliance" promises "stability" to the voters, the "Nation Alliance" pledges "change."
On Election Day, media organizations will not be allowed to broadcast any political advertising, predictions or comments about the elections until 6 p.m. Between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., media outlets will only be able to publish official announcements about the elections issued by the Supreme Elections Council.
Alcoholic beverages will not be sold from 6 a.m. to midnight, while consumption of alcoholic beverages will also be prohibited in public places.
Two rounds of counting: Presidential and parliamentary
After voting ends, ballots cast for the presidential candidates will be counted first, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
If there is no mathematical need to go to a second round, which would take place on July 8, the president will be named first.
The parliamentary votes will be counted second and are expected to take longer than usual, as parties up for office are entering the vote in two electoral blocs.
The YSK has said that although the calculations for the alliances seem complex, the procedures will be rapidly and automatically handled through software designed by the Supreme Elections Council.
This software, SIPPORT, short for the "Political Party Portal" in Turkish, was in use during the local elections in 2014 and all elections following that including the April 2017 referendum.
The software allows for party headquarters to monitor every piece of data entered into the "Elections Informative System" by provincial election councils at each step of the way after the election councils enter the data.
★ Turkish police detained 11 suspected members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party in Ankara on June 23 on suspicion of planning a "provocative action" during voting on June 24, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The Public Prosecutor's Office issued arrest warrants on eight more suspects.
14 suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group accused of planning an attack on elections this weekend were detained in Ankara on June 21.
In a separate operation on June 23, four suspects were arrested over links to the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen while they were trying to cross into Greece illegally through the northwestern Turkish province of Edirne.
Gülen is widely believed to be the mastermind of the 2016 coup attempt and his movement was designated as Fethullahist Terror Organization by the Turkish government.
★ A magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck Van province in southeast Turkey early June 23, according to the country's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority.
The quake struck Van's Saray district at 06.50 a.m. at a depth of 5.25 miles, Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said.
No causalities have been reported so far.
★ The Turkish Armed Forces has conducted its third patrolling mission around the northern Syrian town of Manbij as part of a deal with the United States.
Turkish armored military vehicles patrolled around the Sacu River, which separates Manbij, controlled by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, and Jerablus, held by the Free Syrian Army since the Turkey-led "Operation Euphrates Shield," state-run Anadolu Agency reported on June 22.
The Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, which is seen by Ankara as a terrorist organization and an offspring of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, have agreed to withdraw its forces from the northern town of Manbij, the U.S. Department of State has said.
"We've agreed as a part of the overall roadmap in dealing with Manbij that the YPG will depart Manbij. We're continuing to work with our NATO ally Turkey on a common way forward in Manbij," said U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert in a press briefing on June 21.
The Turkish army conducted its first patrolling mission around Manbij on June 18 for the implementation of the road map and the second patrolling mission was conducted on June 20.
According to the bilateral roadmap prepared by Turkey and the U.S., the People's Protection Units is scheduled to withdraw from the town on July 4 to east of the Euphrates river, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt
Çavuşoğlu said on June 21.
★ Turkey has vowed to continue its contribution to global peace and security as a credible NATO ally on the day it officially received its first F-35A stealth fighter from the contractor Lockheed Martin in a symbolic but milestone ceremony at the aerospace's company headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas on June 21, reports the Hürriyet Daily News.
The first two F-35s will soon be transferred to Luke Air Force Base in Arizona where Turkish instructor pilots and maintainers will undertake a lengthy training program. Turkey's plan is to procure 100 F-35s in the next few decades.
Lockheed Martin CEO and President Marillyn Hewson expressed her honor in delivering the first f-35A to the Republic of Turkey. She said she was certain the F-35s would play a crucial role in enhancing global security, as this new generation sophisticated warplane will have a transformative role with its high technology and capabilities.
A number of Turkish companies have been producing some key parts of the F-35s in line with the memorandum of understanding signed with the Lockheed Martin in 2007.
The only thing top officials of the Lockheed Martin do not want to talk is the ongoing political debates between the Turkish and American governments and the ongoing processes at the U.S. Senate for blocking the delivery of F-35s to Turkey.
★ The second Samsun Youth Festival has just ended, reports the Turkish daily Sözcü. There were over 20 bands and musicians from Turkey. As for attendance, thousands of people congregated on the Sheraton Grand Beach on the Black Sea.
★ Istanbul State Conservatory has been asked to leave the space that it is occupying on the Dolmabahçe Palace campus, reports the daily Sözcü. The Conservatory, which is part of Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, has been there for the past 32 years. Currently the Conservatory is next to the Istanbul office of the Prime Minister at the Palace, and authorities say that this is problematic.
Public, especially the alumni of the Conservatory, have been protesting the request to evacuate the space.
One protester has quoted Ataturk, the first president Turkey, who famously said:
"You can be a member of parliament, and a minister, and in fact a president, but you cannot be an artist".
The Conservatory has 1400 students from age 6 to 25.
Eric Morris (center) and Meltem Cumbul (on the right)
★ Another news item about the Istanbul State Conservatory: Turkish actress Meltem Cumbul is teaching a method that she learned in 2005 through 2008 in Los Angeles from Eric Morris, an American acting teachers, reports the Turkish daily Sözcü.
She says in 2005 she went to Los Angeles to stay there for 10 days but ended up staying three years.
Her classes are offered at the Theater Division of the Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory.
Meltem Cumbul's career encompasses 16 feature films including Berlinale Golden Bear winner Head On movie. She has also received awards from and participated on juries at many national and international awards at the festivals like Palm Springs, Queens, Ankara, and Antalya Golden Orange Film Festivals.
★ Ninth International Istanbul Opera Festival has started, reports the daily Sözcü. The first concert took place under the direction of Antonio Pirolli leading the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet Orchestra in the accompaniment of soprano Nino Machaidze. Machaidze is a singer with the renowned Italian opera company La Scala, and was also the student of renowned Turkish opera singer Leyla Gencer, who also sang for La Scala.
On June 28 and 29, Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" will be staged at Istanbul Archaeological Museum building.
The Festival will be on until July 7.
★ In the 2018 Rome Music Festival, there were classical music and jazz concerts from Turkey, reports the daily Sözcü.
In the accompaniment of the Turkish percussion artist Dinçer Özer, pianist Rüya Taner presented samplings of classical music from Turkey under the name "Turkish Percussive Colors Duo". She performed Ulvi Cemal Erkin's "Zeybek", Felix Mendelssohn's "Rondo Capriccioso", Nazım Hidayetoğlu's "Song", Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune", Fryderyk Chopin's "Fantasia-Improvviso", Fazıl Say's "Kumru", Zoltan Kodaly's "Dances of Marosszek", Sayram Akdil's "Piano Piece Number Six", "Aman Avcı" and "Çanakkale Folksong".
In the second and last section, a concert by the name "Bosporus in Blue" took place. Yasemin Sannino, pianists Luca Ruggero Jacovella, percussionist Giovanni Lo Cascio and bassist Bruno Zoia performed Andrea Guerra's "All Of A Sudden", Goran Bregovic and Sezen Aksu's "That's You", Fahir Atakoğlu's "I'm not upset", "Lal" and "İstanbul", Sezen Aksu's "I Want My Mother", Arto Tunçboyacıyan's "Towards the New", Gaye Su Akyol's "I Live with Camels ", and also renowned Turkish pianist and composer Fazıl Say's composition to the lyrics of poet Cemal Süreya's poem "Silently".
Pianist Rüya Taner said that she was on the stage in Rome for the first time. "I think we represented Turkey well. The audience took a cultural trip from East to West" she said. Percussionist Dinçer Özer said that the Italian audience really enjoyed the Turkish rhythms and melodies, "we need to take our music, our art to the rest of the world in a universal dimension and introduce them to the other nations" he said.
★ We keep hearing these days the phrase "zero tolerance" from President Trump. The phrase is also the name of a Turkish song by Hadise. And playing the video of the song was deemed too erotic for Turkish TV and by the orders of the Radio and Television Supreme Council of Turkey, stations are being fined for playing it.
However, the latest news is that Hadise's video exceeded 100 million viewers on YouTube. The video opens with Hadise and her muscle-bound co-star caressing each other in bed.
Hadise says that if it were a male singer's video, it would not have been banned from broadcasts, and accused the Turkish authorities of discrimination against women.
A bit more about Hadise: She was born in Belgium in 1985 and raised there . In 2003, she participated in the Belgian singing competition show Idool 2003, but rose to fame after releasing her debut album Sweat in 2005. Her song Düm Tek Tek got Turkey the fourth-place in the 2009 Eurovision song contest, in which singers from European countries vie for a prize.
Aside from her musical accomplishments Hadise also presented the Belgian version of The X Factor and has been a judge on O Ses Türkiye (Turkish version of The Voice) since 2011.
Read more at >> here <<
★ One of Turkey's preeminent scholars, Muazzez İlmiye Çığ is 104 years old.
Dr. Çığ is an archaeologist specializing in Hittite and Sumerian cultures. In 2006 when she was 92 she was taken to court for inciting religious hatred by putting the head scarf in ancient history in a sexual context and by criticizing abusive religious marriages.
In one of her published letters, Dr. Çığ asserted that 5,000 years ago, the head scarf was a symbol to distinguish the temple priestess who had ritual sex with young men to celebrate fertility. As such, her satirical letter argued, the wearing of a head scarf should not indicate a woman's morality or religious devotion in today's world.
This comparison and other satires appeared in her book "My Reactions as a Citizen", which led a court case against her. However, she was acquitted within half hour into the court proceedings.
Read more at >> here <<
★ Turkish film and music composer Murat Evgin was in Santiago de Compostela in Spain to attend the Conecta Fiction International Television Festival.
Mr. Evgin is a film music composer and singer. He composed music for some of the top Turkish dramas.
He is also the composer of Myths & Monsters, aired on December 23th 2017, the first Turkish Composer to contribute a Netflix Factual Series.
★ Two mosaics found in perfect condition in a sarcophagus in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya's ancient city of Perge are being protected with a special security camera system. The two are being shown to visitors with a special permission and in the accompaniment of specialists.
The two mosaics depict Medusa and Okeanus. Myth says that Medusa was a creature with snake-like hairs that turned those who gazed upon her into stone, while Okeanus is the goddess of the seas.
2018 was declared the year of Perge.
Read more at >> here <<
See an overview of the city of Perge >> here <<
★ Another recent find in Perge: in the 2018 excavations remains of a monument that contained the mausoleum of Plancia Magna were found. The remains include five steps leading up to a podium.
Plancia Magna is claimed to be the first female mayor of the world. She lived between the first century and second century in the Roman Empire. She was the daughter of Roman Senator, Proconsul Marcus Plancius Varus and the Herodian Princess Julia.
A tumulus in Ankara with development around it
★ With ever expanding Metropolitan area, the tumuli around the Turkish capital Ankara are trying to be preserved among newly erected residences.
A tumulus is an mound of earth that contains a grave.
According to Haluk Sargın, who has written many books about Ankara, there are about 20 tumuli around the city center. Most date back to seventh and eighth centuries to the time of the Phrygians.
Depending on the stature of the person being buried, a tumulus can be 10 feet to 20 feet high.
★ Turkish authorities declared that from now on, an archaeological excavation in Turkey has to employ at least 51% Turkish citizens.
They say that this is to train more people in the field of archaeology in Turkey. The rule has been implemented on 32 foreign excavations immediately.
There are currently archaeological excavations led by German, Italian, US, Belgian, Swiss, French, Japanese and Canadian universities in Turkey.
In addition to the 51% rule for employees, the second-in-charge for the excavations has to be a Turkish citizen.
★ Rural police in Turkey's eastern province of Erzincan arrested a man who was trying to sell four coins from the Roman era through Internet.
★ In an excavation for the construction of single-family homes near Turkey's south western city of Bodrum, crews found the remains of a house belonging to a fisherman by the name of Phainos. The remains were under 10 feet of earth.
Archaeologist determined that the fisherman was a wealthy individual who lived in the second century. Artifacts related to Fisherman Phainos were first found in 1890 around Bodrum. In 1992 another home with mosaics referring to him were also excavated.
In addition to the remains of a home, there was a water well, a bath, water canals and a mosaic at the base of the home. The mosaic depicts giant fish and a fisherman in a boat.
The luxurious marble home also revealed remains of household goods and fishing gear.
Three archaeologists have started further excavations at the site.
★ Recent excavations in the ancient city of Sardis in Turkey's Western province of Manisa revealed that a ceremonial arch was repaired in the sixth century by a wealthy and powerful citizen of the city by the name of Flavius Manionius.
The repair was documented on a mosaic excavated last year. The mosaic is going through conservation work. Afterwards it will be displayed under a glass cover.
Sardis is known as the first place in the world that coins were minted. It was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia. After Christianity, it had one of the "Seven Churches of Asia", which was instrumental in spreading Christianity to the rest of the ancient world. John, the author of the "Book of Revelation" in the Bible, preached at the church historians write.
First excavations in Sardis started in 1854. In 1958 excavations started to be performed in a scientific way.
The history of the city goes back 5000 years.
Read more at >> here <<
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 4.68
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey: 82/57 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean: 86/72 Thunderstorms
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey: 75/50 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 81/72 Thunderstorms
Izmir, on the Aegean: 90/72 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea: 79/72 Thunderstorms
Black Sea measured at Trabzon 73
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ 74
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir 78
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 78
★ In the 2018 Mediterranean games taking place in Spain, Turkey's Tuba Yakan won a gold medal in the ladies kumite 55 kg category in karate.
★ In the men's competition Turkey's Eray Şamdan won a bronze medal.
★ In the PWA world wind surfing cup taken place in Portugal, Turkey's Lena Erdil became the world second-place champion.
The first place went to French Delphine Cousin Questel.
★ Turkey's Semih Saygıner won a silver medal in the 2008 three cushion billiards World Cup that took place in Belgium between June 11 and 17. The first place went to Dutch Dick Jaspers.
Semih Saygıner (born November 12, 1964), nicknamed Mr. Magic or The Turkish Prince, is a Turkish world champion professional carom billiards player specialized in three-cushion event.
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