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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 15 September 2018

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 15 September 2018]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Monday in the Russian resort city of Sochi, senior Turkish officials said. The meeting comes as the international community has raised concerns over a potential Syrian government offensive in Idlib province, bordering Turkey, the last stronghold of the armed opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

  Speaking at a televised news conference Friday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that his country is ready to cooperate with anyone in fighting terrorist organizations in Idlib, but added that the killing of civilians, women and children under the pretext of fighting terrorism is not human.

  Since early September, aerial bombardment and shelling by Syrian and Russian forces have increased. The United Nations reports dozens of people, including women and children have been killed and wounded, and several hospitals and schools have been attacked and put out of service.

  In related news, in an article posted Monday in The Wall Street Journal, President Erdoğan warned, "The consequences of inaction are immense," and "a regime assault would also create serious humanitarian and security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond."

  Turkey is one of the backers of rebels fighting the Syrian government, including groups based in the enclave. Analysts say that along with humanitarian concerns, the survival of Idlib as a rebel base is key to Turkey's broader strategic Syrian goals.

  "Turkey needs to hold some portion of Syria and pose a credible threat to [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and force Assad into a peace agreement that would accept refugees" to return from Turkey, said political analyst Atilla Yeşilada of Global Source Partners. "Keeping parts of Idlib and Afrin and the al-Bab region is a crucial component of this game plan."

  In the last 18 months, Turkish-led rebel groups have taken control of the Afrin and al-Bab regions. Turkey justified the cross-border operations to deal with the twin threats of the Islamic State group and the Kurdistan Workers' Party fighters. The Kurdistan Workers Party, which Turkey along with the U. S. and the European Union considers a terrorist group, has been waging a long-running insurgency in southeast Turkey.

★ The Turkish central bank caught international markets by surprise Thursday as it aggressively hiked interest rates in an effort to strengthen consumer confidence, stem inflation and rein in the currency crisis.

  Interest rates were increased to 24 percent from 17.75 percent. The Turkish lira surged above 5 percent in response, although the gains subsequently were pared back.

  International investors broadly welcomed the move. "Turkish Republic Central Bank did show resolve in hiking the one-week repo rate substantially and going back to orthodoxy," chief economist Inan Demir of Nomura International said.

  The rate hike is an apparent rebuke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been opposed to such a move. After hearing about the hike, President Erdoğan said that he is losing patience with the central bank.

  The Turkish president reiterated his stance of challenging orthodox economic thinking, arguing that inflation is caused by high rates, although that runs contrary to conventional economic theory. Mr. Erdoğan also issued a presidential decree banning all businesses and leasing and rental agreements from using foreign currency denominations.

  While international markets are broadly welcoming the central bank's interest rate hike, economist Demir warns more action is needed.

  "This rate hike does not undo the damage inflicted on corporate balance sheet, and market concerns about geopolitics will remain in place. So this is not the hike to end all problems," said Demir.

  The World Bank and IMF repeatedly have called on Turkey to rein in spending, which they say is fueling inflation. Perhaps in response, Mr. Erdoğan has announced a freeze on new state construction projects.

  In the past few years, he has embarked on an unprecedented construction boom, including building one of the world's largest airports and a multibillion-dollar canal project in Istanbul, which the president himself described as "crazy."

  Read more >> here <<,  >> here << and >> here <<


★ Abdurrahman Kaan, the head of MÜSİAD, a business organization close to the ruling Justice and Development Party, said in an interview that the growth of recent years in the Turkish economy was based on debt, blaming the recent economic crisis partially on this, reports the daily Cumhuriyet.

  This is in opposition to the pronouncement of the administration that blames the "foreign powers" for the downturn in the Turkish economy.

  Mr. Kaan also said that the loss in the value of the Turkish currency is due to a shortage of foreign currency, in other words, reduced investments and loans from abroad.

★ According to the website "Ahval", an anthrax outbreak in Turkey among cattle imported from abroad killed one and infected some 130 people .

  A medical doctor claimed that the reason for the outbreak is getting the imported animals into the country without observing the mandated 21-day quarantine before a recent holiday, which increased the demand for the animals.

  Turkey's health ministry did not reply to the questions on the matter.

  Meat sales in Turkey have decreased significantly following the outbreak.

  In related news, a parliamentarian from the opposition Republican People's party questioned the minister of health as to if there is a ban on physicians to declare their diagnoses as anthrax.

  Anthrax is a common disease of livestock and, occasionally, of humans. It is caused by a bacteria that typically affects the skin and lungs.

  Read more at >> here <<



★ The 13th Contemporary Istanbul, CI, will take place despite the economic crisis that Turkey is in the organizers say, reports the daily Cumhuriyet.

  The event will be on from September 20-23, with 83 galleries, of which 54 are from abroad, featuring 650 artists, out of which 400 are foreign, and with nearly 2000 works.

  According to the publication ART NEWS, Ali Güreli, the chairman of Contemporary Istanbul, said in a statement, "Contemporary Istanbul continues to shine a spotlight on Istanbul as a cultural hub with a growing contemporary arts scene. CI has played an integral role in developing a strong market of local collectors, offering a platform to present contemporary art from across the region and globally to both local and international audiences."

  In addition to the exhibits, there will be a series of conferences called CIF Dialogues on design, cultural legacy, technology, innovation, interaction between art and architecture, and being a collector.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ Istanbul's American Hospital "Operation Room" Art Gallery will be hosting the works from students at the Visual Communication Design Department at Kadir Has University between September 13 and November 10, reports the daily Cumhuriyet.

  The exhibition is titled "No, it's not there".

  The exhibition hosts the visual, visual-audio and time-based works of the Kadir Has University students, who produce the relationship between the representation of sight and thought with a technological perspective.


★ Another interesting exhibition is taking place in Istanbul until November 6 at the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University's Tophane-i Amire culture and Arts Center.

  The exhibition will feature 102 works by 48 artists from various parts of Europe that are in the Arkas collection. The exhibition is titled "Post Impressionism in the Arkas Collection".

  The president of the University Yalçın Karayağız said that the exhibition is a miracle taking place in the history of the Republic of Turkey.

  Among the artists represented in the exhibition are:

  Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Louis Anquetin, Maxime Maufra, Theo van Rysselberghe, Paul Serusier, Suzanne Valadon, Edouard Vuillard, Leo Putz, Louis Valtat, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees Van Dongen, Andre Derain, George Braque ve Andre Lhote.

  The owner of the collection is Lucien Arkas, a Turkish businessman of French-Italian descent. He is in the list of richest 100 Turks prepared by Forbes magazine.

  Read more at >> here <<


★ The depreciation of the Turkish lira by around 35 percent since the beginning of the year has led to increases in the costs of sectors dependent on imports while exposing the consumer to price hikes, reports the daily Cumhuriyet.

  One of the sectors that is affected by the high exchange rate is the film and advertising sector.

  Film production uses imported and high-tech products such as cameras, lenses, light equipment, TVRs, audio receivers, monitors, and software. All of these have experienced price increases by 52 to 53 percent.

  Founder of the company "Eksantrik Produksiyon" and commercial film director Abdullah Ekşioğlu said, the cost of equipment used for a commercial film was 1.8 million TL in August 2017. The figure went up 2.8 million TL in 2018.

  This increase in production costs will increase the price of a movie ticket by approximately 30%.


★ In related news, Turkey being a net importer of paper, its prices has increased so much so that some publications are going out of business in Turkey.

  One of them is a three-year-old monthly culture and book review magazine titled "Back Cover", reports the daily Cumhuriyet.


★ Prix Pictet, established in 2008 by the Pictet Group, has become one of the prominent prizes in the photography and sustainability area in the world.

  This year the Prix Pictet exhibition will be in Istanbul between September 18 and October 17.

  The facade of the exhibition has been designed by Istanbul technical University architectural students, who participated in a contest to get their design selected.


★ The 20th Eskişehir International Film Festival will take place in November this year Northwest in central province of Eskişehir. The Festival announced the requirements for participating in two of its competitions on its website recently.

  The two competitions are "Support to Short Film Production" and "Contribution to Film Culture". The short film competition will give monetary awards to three films by the students studying towards their BA degree in film and television. The second award will be given to the "Best Film Book" and "Best Film Article" published in 2017 or 2018.

★ The 25th Adana Film Festival will take place September 22-30 this year with, among others, 15 international films.

  The program of the festival was disclosed on September 13 with a press conference.

  This year the festival will feature the following competitions: 
  The lifetime award of the festival will be given to Turkey's master filmmaker Şerif Gören. Turkish film artists Cüneyt Arkın, Muhterem Nur, Ahmet Mekin and Süleyman Turan will receive honorary awards.

  The jury for the international full length film will be led by Polish director Urszula Antoniak . Artist and director Yelda Reynaud will be the leader of the International Short Film Competition. Serbian producer Nenad Dukic will lead the international short film competition.

★ The Russian Bolshoi ballet troupe performed at the 25th international Aspendos Opera and ballet Festival in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya September 13. This was the first performance of the Bolshoi in Aspendos.

  The ballet troupe performed excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and sleeping beauty, Chopin's Chopiniana, Boris Asafiev's Flames of Paris, Adolf Adam's "Corsair", Leo Delibes' "Coppelia", and Arif Melikov's "Farhad and Shirin".


★ The Turkish rock group Madcap wrote a new song to show their reaction to increasing cruelty against animals.

  The group also made a clip for the song "A Silent Scream". Made at a pet shelter, the clip is sending to the viewers the message "Don't buy, adopt. Adopt for life, and don't let them loose to the streets."

  In addition, the group allocates a portion of their revenue from the concerts to purchase food for 110 dogs kept at a shelter.

www.TurkRadio.us www.TurkRadio.us
Satala today (left) and the Satala Aphrodite at the British Museum  (right)

★ With the approaching winter and the rainy season, dozens of archaeological excavations that I carried each year in Turkey are winding down.

  However, there were still exciting finds made within the last few days.

  One of them took place in Turkey's North Eastern province of Gümüşhane's Kelkit district. Archaeologists reported that about 2 1/2 feet under the ground they are finding numerous remains dating back to the Roman and Byzantine era of some 2000 years ago.

  The area, called by the Imperial Rome "Satala", was host to the Rome's 15th Legion, which was there for 600 years.

  Romans had four Legion forts in what is now Eastern Turkey to protect the Empire against the Persians, and Satala is the one that has survived to reach the current times.

  The archaeologists say that many middle-age bronze coins found at the site enabled them to date the ruins. Some bricks used in's construction also feature stamps and seals on them.

  The head of the excavations Dr. Şahin Yıldırım says that the work at the site will take a very long time to complete.

  There are layers of older settlements in the vicinity, the earliest going back to the bronze age. However, where the core excavations are being carried off, remains only go back to the Hellenistic era.


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

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